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Brazil is recovering from the virus but remains at risk

RIO DE ANNEIRO (AP) – For most of this month, intensive care units across Brazil were in or near the backdrop of crushing COVID-19 patients, and the sedatives needed for intubation were reduced. The nation’s largest cemetery had so many corpses to bury that the gravediggers worked for hours after sunset.

But Brazil has stepped back, at least for now, as funeral և hospital services no longer face collapse. It has ceased to be the global epicenter of the virus as its death toll has slowed to surpass that of India. Experts, however, warn that the situation remains uncertain, և caution is justified.

The number of states with an ICU capacity of more than 90% has dropped from 17 a month to 10, according to the state-run Fiocruz Medical Research Institute. And overnight burials in Villa Formosa, Sao Paulo, and three other cemeteries were suspended on Thursday for two weeks after his death.

It comes as a cold relief in a country where nearly 2,400 people were killed every day last week, more than tripling in the United States, Brazil exceeded the grim point of 400,000 deaths confirmed on Thursday. According to experts, that number is significantly lower. partly because many cases were ignored, especially at the beginning of the epidemic. The seven-day average dropped to more than 3,100 deaths in mid-April, but Fiocruz warned in a Wednesday news release that it could be a plateau, even higher than last year.

“Instead of stabilizing now, our goal is to keep the numbers down. That’s the most important thing, “said Pedro Halal, an epidemiologist and coordinator of Brazil’s largest COVID-19 test program. “It’s good that they’re coming down, but let’s not think this will be the last wave. “There is hope that this will be the last wave because of the vaccine, but it must be confirmed.”

“Given the slow spread of vaccines, there are millions more Brazilians who are vulnerable to infection,” Halal added. “Scientists believe that it is necessary to stop the uncontrolled spread of the vaccine.” 70% or more of the population remains immunized through vaccination or previous infection.

The number of 401,186 victims in Brazil is the second highest in the world. Most have been registered in just the last four months, as the nation has become more contagious. In the summer of the Southern Hemisphere, crowds gathered, and people took to public transportation in groups as mayors and governors eased restrictions, which were vehemently opposed by Brazilian President Air Air Bolsonaro.

Some mayors and governors have stepped up such measures over the past month to help stem the tide of infections, Fiocruz said. However, against the background of encouraging data, they have started to reopen again.

Walter Gomez, a 33-year-old textile maker in downtown Sao Paulo, said more people were driving trains and reopening shops.

“Often the epidemic gets worse because a lot of people who have the opportunity to stay home do not. “Instead, they come out,” he said. “If everyone had contributed, I do not think there would have been such a big crisis by stopping work with these blockades.”

Researchers at Imperial College London say this week that Brazil’s transfer rate has fallen to its lowest level in months.

But the pace remains high, says Domingos Alves, an epidemiologist with COVID-19 data, who says it is too early to lift the restrictions. He noted that Brazil risks repeating the mistakes of European countries that have seen the third wave, as the level of infection in the country is not yet stable.

“In all Brazilian states, the situation requires more drastic measures to prevent the virus,” said Alves, an associate professor of social medicine at the University of Sao Paulo. “The number of cases is very high, we are not doing anything to prevent the virus.”

The number of cases confirmed by Brazil is considered to be underestimated, and the virus is also widespread among its neighbors. The ICUs of the Argentine capital Buenos Aires have reached a critical level. Flights have been reported in Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay and Colombia in recent weeks. Health experts cited the circulation of options as a contributing factor, including the strain that allegedly originated in the Brazilian Amazon.

“It is not uncommon for many countries in our region to tighten public health measures by extending curfews, limiting reopening, and placing new orders at home,” said Carisa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization. “These decisions are never easy, but given how infections grow, that’s exactly what needs to happen.”

Such proposals remain anathema for Bolsonaro. He called the blockade “nonsense” over the weekend and suggested that the army could take to the streets to restore order.

The president has consistently downplayed the disease, dispelling false hopes by advertising unproven drugs that critics say only increase the nation’s death toll. This week, the Senate launched an inquiry into alleged government failures to manage the epidemic.

The anxious answer was reflected in the circulation of the Minister of Health. The fourth person to take office during the epidemic, Dr. Marcelo Queiroga, took office last month. He spoke about the need to boost the supply of vaccines, personally consulted with scientists, and so far has shown autonomy in the use of the mask to promote social distance. This means that he is changing from his predecessor, an active-duty general who openly respected Bolsonaro’s wishes on health policy.

Keiroga told reporters this week that declining hospitalizations had eased demand for oxygen-induced sedatives. Large-scale donations from big business, the governments of Canada and Spain, boosted supply. The Ministry of Health is also preparing a tender for more sedatives.

The Minister stopped accepting the calls of public health experts for blocking և restrictions on activities, և did not rule out the use of drugs that strict tests have shown to be ineffective. But he shows that Brazil is not free yet.

“We are still in a very serious moment of the epidemic,” Keiroga said. “Deaths are falling, but there are still very many.” ___ AP video journalist Tatiana Polastri contributed from Sao Paulo

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