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Brazil breaks its own COVID-19 records in endless first wave

The handling of the pandemic by the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is one of the most terrible in the world

Brazil breaks its own COVID-19 records in endless first wave

Autor: Alexis Rodriguez

The handling of the pandemic by the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is one of the most terrible in the world. Currently, it is the third country with the highest number of positive cases for COVID-19, behind the United States and India. In addition, in terms of the number of deaths it occupies the second position, only surpassed by the North American nation.

This Wednesday, Brazil made world news again, twice. In the first place, it exceeded seven million infected and also registered a record number of positives in one day. In addition, it accounts for more than a million new cases in less than a month, just when they believed they had flattened the contagion curve.


The South American country surpassed the mark of seven million infected after adding 70,574 new cases this December 16. The latter constitutes a record of cases detected in 24 hours. The previous high was from July 29, when they were 69,074.

Thus, the total number of people infected by the disease reached 7,040,608, according to the National Council of Health Secretaries (CONASS). However, the state of São Paulo, one of the most affected, did not present figures in the last 24 hours, so the total could be higher.


An accelerating pace of the pandemic

Considering the previous mark of six million, the most recent million cases were registered in a shorter period. Between October 7 and November 20 (44 days), Brazil jumped from five to six million cases.

This time, it took only 26 days to reach seven million. In short, the situation shows a greater lack of control in the pace of the pandemic.

According to CONASS, the average number of cases in the last seven days was 44,594 in 24 hours. On December 1, that is, fifteen days ago, that average was 38,297 positives in 24 hours.

A cemetery for those killed by COVID-19 in Manaus. Photo: AFP

Meanwhile, the number of deaths is also increasing: there were 936 more this Wednesday. With this, Brazil now counts 183,735 deaths from COVID-19. Precisely, the daily average is located at 677 during the last week.

In the last week the authorities confirmed more than 300,000 new cases. Brazil had only surpassed that weekly mark in June, although it also happened four times, when the pandemic reached its worst levels.

A mural on Avenida Paulista reminds passersby of one of the president’s phrases about the pandemic. Photo: Zuma Press

What happened to the vaccine in Brazil?

This Wednesday, the Bolsonaro Government formally presented the National Immunization Plan against COVID-19. But not on its own initiative, but thanks to the intense political pressure and coordination of state and municipal administrators.

The document delivered to the Federal Supreme Court provides for 108.3 million doses and immunization of about 51 million people. They explained that each person takes two doses. In addition, a loss of 5% of the total is estimated due to possible logistical and application problems. That process would take 16 months.

The number seems low for a country with more than 200 million inhabitants. If so, three-quarters of the population will have to continue surviving the virus for almost a year and a half.


Also – officially – there is no date for the start of the vaccination campaign. According to the Ministry of Health, this decision will only be made after the vaccine has been approved.

However, the head of the Northeast Consortium and governor of Piauí, Wellington Dias, declared that the idea is to start vaccination on January 21. He alleged that this information was received from the Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello, who has not commented on the matter.

“We agreed on a procedure with the Ministry that plans to sign contracts on vaccination conditions until January 21. It will be through Fiocruz, Butantan, Pfizer or any other that can provide them. If the conditions to vaccinate are achieved, it is possible to start earlier, but not later”, said Dias.


Criticisms of the immunization plan

Less than 24 hours after the National Immunization Plan was presented, a lot of criticism was piling up against it. A group of 36 researchers published a note in which they explained that, even though their names appear in the text, they had not received the final version and did not approve the decisions.

Immediately afterwards, the Ministry of Health responded that the scientists do not have «decision-making power to formalize the plan». They even pointed out that «the professionals mentioned by the Executive in the Plan are technicians chosen as guests» and their participation has a «character of opinion».

However, the scientists reiterated that all vulnerable populations should be included as a priority in immunization. Among them, priority should be given to the indigenous peoples, quilombolas, riverside, people deprived of liberty and people with disabilities. Government planning includes only health professionals and those over 60 years of age.

Brazil currently has four substances in clinical trials in its territory. According to Brasil De Fato, the Chinese CoronaVac, the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer immunizer and finally, Janssen, are under evaluation.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is in clinical trials. Photo: Reuters

The pandemic seems endless

The newspaper Brasil de Fato carried out a qualitative analysis of the situation in the country. From the media they consider that it is «very far from being able to speak of an end to the COVID-19 pandemic». They even highlight that beyond the reality that Brazil is going through, regions like Europe suffer a second terrible wave.

“We have seen in recent weeks not only an increase in the number of cases, but also hospitalizations and deaths in much of Europe. Right now, there are already several countries that announce tougher measures of isolation and social distancing to contain the so-called second wave of the pandemic”, reviewed an article by the journalist Aristóteles Cardona.


They also go on to say that, “so far, 14 countries have announced this type of action. There, the situation is faced with the seriousness that people’s lives deserve”. On the other hand, they condemn the denial of Bolsonaro and part of his government on the issue of the coronavirus and its consequences in Brazil.

“Here (in Brazil) it is still early to talk about a second wave, because we haven’t even gotten out of the first. And that, in fact, makes our situation very peculiar to be able to stick to any scenario in the coming weeks. However, in an attempt to point out possible scenarios, today I would say that we will once again suffer, as a country, even more from COVID-19”, said Cardona.

A ‘reserved forecast’ ending in Brazil

He then added that “it is clear that this is not a mere forecast and we must continue to monitor and analyze the scenarios to better understand what lies ahead. However, we have to prepare. We cannot even normalize the level of the hundreds of daily deaths that we still face».

Finally, the journalist concluded that “the pandemic is not over yet and we will probably have to deal with its impacts for a long time. For the life of the Brazilians”.

But, what is the most amazing thing about that text written by Cardona? It dates from November 6, almost six weeks ago, but it seems that it was written this very Wednesday. In short, his analysis simply shows that the health crisis in Brazil today is worse than a month ago and that, in the short term, there is no positive end in sight.

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