March is the deadliest month since the pandemic began in Brazil, with 66,573 recorded corona deaths.
The country’s hospitals have been pushed to the breaking point due to the new wave of serious cases of infection, and doctors are now forced to choose which patients to provide lifesaving help to.
The situation in the country is an example of the consequences that a lack of strict infection control measures, similar to those we have in Norway, can lead to, says assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad in the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
– In the countries that have few measures, such as Brazil and the USA, there are enormous consequences of the pandemic running wild. In Brazil, for example, we saw yesterday that the health service is about to kneel completely, Nakstad says to Dagbladet.
– It would not have done so if one had had infection control measures, and had managed to keep the infection down. Then much larger parts of society could function as normal, he continues.
– The worst is yet to come
The grim record number of deaths in March in Brazil is more than twice as high as what has so far been the deadliest month in the country, which was July last year, when the authorities registered 32,881 corona-related deaths.
“Never in the history of the country have we seen a single incident kill so many people in a single month,” says doctor Miguel Nicolelis, who has been the coordinator for pandemic preparedness in the northeastern part of the country.
In total, the country has registered 321,515 corona-related deaths since the pandemic started, the Ministry of Health states, writes NTB.
“We are in the worst place in the pandemic, and there are indications that April will be very bad as well,” epidemiologist Ethel Maciel at the Brazilian university Espírito Santo told AFP.
– The worst is still to come, she says.
Doctor and pandemic coordinator Miguel Nicolelis points out that winter is now approaching in the southern hemisphere and that the virus is spreading rapidly.
Brazil is facing the perfect storm, he says.
– This is not a threat only to Brazil, but to the whole world, he says.
In Norway, we have had some strict national and / or local measures more or less since March last year.
The measures have affected parts of the business community through several extensive shutdowns, and the consequences of this are again that several companies have had to lay off or lay off employees.
Nakstad emphasizes to Dagbladet that he is not the right person to answer questions related to the economic consequences of the measures introduced in Norway. That is what the politicians have to answer, he explains. But he says:
– I think you have to look at a pandemic that affects the whole world, as a crisis that affects the whole world. It is the effects of the pandemic on society that are long-lasting, and not these measures per se, although they affect when they work.
– What we do know is that countries that manage to keep the infection under control with measures – for example the measures that are now in Oslo and Viken and elsewhere – those countries have the least impact on the economy, and they have a health system and an education system that works more normal than other countries.
– The paradox
Nakstad says that this is the “paradox of a pandemic”:
– Measures are unpopular. The fact that we have to limit how many people we are in contact with, for example, is very unpopular, but the consequences of not doing so are enormously much greater.
– In a way, this is the dilemma, and which means that political authorities around the world, both at local and national level, have a huge challenge in a pandemic, since one must introduce unpopular measures because one knows that the consequences of not make it so much bigger, says Nakstad.
– Psychopathic leader
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his government have been criticized for being reluctant to shut down the country.
Last year, several cities and states imposed strict restrictions on their own initiative, which provoked the president.
On Sunday, March 21, he again attacked measures against the coronavirus, on the occasion of his 66th birthday.
He snorted at the experts’ advice on social distancing and the use of face masks to curb the pandemic, although he has recently taken a somewhat more pragmatic stance as a result of the dramatic virus development in the country.
However, his handling and moves have not gone unnoticed within the country’s borders. Governor Joao Doria of Brazil’s and South America’s largest city, São Paulo, recently called Bolsonaro a “psychopathic leader.”
– We are in one of the most tragic moments in history. Millions of people pay a high price for having an unprepared and psychopathic person in charge at this time, he said.
Brazil is also struggling to secure enough vaccines for its 212 million people. Earlier today, it was announced that Brazil has granted emergency approval for the corona vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. It is the fourth vaccine to be approved in the hard-hit country, according to NTB.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency Anvisa unanimously approved the emergency approval. The approval applies to priority groups such as health personnel and the elderly.
Brazil signed an agreement with the American pharmaceutical giant two weeks ago for the delivery of 38 million vaccines. Delivery will not start until August.
Only one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is needed, as opposed to two doses of the other corona vaccines.
Brazil has already entered into an agreement with Pfizer for the delivery of 100 million doses, ie vaccines for 50 million people. Delivery of these vaccines is expected to start at the turn of the month April-May.
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