The corona pandemic puts Brazil is one of the most agonizing situations presently. Over the past month, the country has blown past a series of shocking milestones, recurrently setting new records for most Covid-19 deaths per day. The previous week set another record – 12,818 recent fatalities and more than 464,000 new cases. As per Johns Hopkins University figures — signs of a viral spread outdoing even that of the United States, Brazil is coming across as the only country in the world harder hit by the epidemic in absolute numbers.
What makes it awful is hospitals capacity getting exhausted. In São Paulo’s suburbs, the crisis is making things helpless for the small Dr. Akira Tada Emergency Hospital. While during regular times, doctors there would stabilize severe patients and then transfer them on to bigger and more equipped hospitals with intensive care units (ICUs), the situation is not the same anymore. Hardly hospitals today can take in new patients, even in the Brazil’s most prosperous state.
When Dineia Martins Firmino was admitted to the hospital at the start of March, doctors intubated the 74-year-old and informed her family that she badly needed to be moved to an ICU for better treatment, as shared by her granddaughter Pamela Rivitti, 30.
However, she never made it off the official, government-run list for the move. “No vacancy appeared at the time she needed it and she ended up dying on Saturday,” said Rivitti. “We did the funeral on Sunday,” she added.
By Sunday, 21 Brazilian states and the Federal District held an ICU occupancy rate of over 80%. 14 out of those were on the verge of crumpling with an occupation above 90%.
In the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, ICUs are so burdened that the most prominent public hospital treating Covid-19 cases in state capital Porto Alegre commented on Sunday that it was forced to close its doors for new patients.
“The hospital’s ICU Covid ward already serves at 132% occupancy,” hospital management at Porto Alegre Hospital das Clinic remarked in a statement.
Additionally, there is a surging demand for oxygen and other necessities. To the north, Rondonia state is at 97.6% ICU use, and the Attorney General’s Office has cautioned that local oxygen supplies could run out in only two weeks.
The state is experiencing an “imminent risk of oxygen shortage,” the letter read.
While on the one hand, former President Lula da Silva criticized the Brazil government for its pandemic management. The government has talked about a new and potentially more contagious local coronavirus variant, which is presently spreading through Brazil and other countries.
The experts here also allege that the Brazilians’ failure to follow mask and social distancing guidelines properly, encouraged by President Jair Bolsonaro, who knocks precautionary measures as dangerous for the economy and social stability.
Another area where the country is facing a challenge is a low rate of vaccination. Despite a solid historic vaccination track record, Brazil’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow. Only 1.4% of the population has yet been fully vaccinated.
Brazilian Health Minister Pazuello is presently under enquiry for his handling of the Manaus crisis. It was off late assessed that 22 to 25 million doses would be obtainable in March. This is, however, a sharp drop from previous predictions that up to 46 million vaccine doses would be available this month.
The federal government discusses new vaccine deals, comprising a purchase order for the Russian-made Sputnik V. However, for now, shortages exist.