After South America was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the new epicenter of covid-19 and Brazil accounted for 57.2% of the 578,329 infected in the region and 71.8% of the 28,318 dead, the information was not surprising Brazilian doctors heard by the Estadão.

For Nacime Salomão Mansur, superintendent of Paulista Association for the Development of Medicine (SPDM), the entity responsible for administering part of the beds at the Anhembi Campaign Hospital, in the city of São Paulo, the number of cases and deaths is frightening, but it was expected. “What we are living in now happens due to the large population densities, for a large part of the population to remain without social isolation and for our terrible income distribution”, he commented.

According to him, the crisis took time to advance even by some government decisions. “Speaking specifically about São Paulo (the Brazilian epicenter of the disease), the State in a way fulfilled the role in an attempt to flatten the curve in time to increase the number of hospital beds,” he added. The total number of people killed by covid-19 in São Paulo grew 3.8% in 24 hours, reaching a total of 5,773 deaths.

Mario Rubens Vianna, president of Union of Doctors of the State of Amazonas, says he can’t take any more asking for help from the federal government to minimize the crisis. “I have said countless times that Brazil should have some special concern for Amazonas due to its territorial extension and difficult access to many cities.”

The main problem at the moment, according to him, is the difficulty in serving the population of cities in the interior. “In many remote municipalities, there is no minimum level of public health, there is a lack of professional qualification, it is a tragedy. The consequence of this is the overcrowding of the capital’s hospitals. The population of these smaller cities migrates in search of care.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the need for “national unity and global solidarity” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Ghebreyesus highlighted the fact that overburdened health systems cause a “dramatic” increase in preventable deaths.

For specialists, the scenario of containing the epidemic involves maintaining or increasing restrictions. Mansur prefers to wait for next week’s figures, before saying whether the lockdown would be the next step to be taken to try to get the country out of the epicenter of the pandemic. “The long holidays (in São Paulo) were interesting, they came in handy. It was a smart way to improve social isolation. If the number of cases continues to rise in the next week, it will be necessary (the lockdown). But the most important now is to start testing on a large scale. “

The president of the Regional Council of Medicine of São Paulo (Cremesp), Irene Abramovich, also mentions testing as a way to have the scale of the pandemic in the country and to save lives. “I will not say that (the pandemic) took us by surprise, but it arrived very quickly.”

In the last two weeks, in absolute numbers, Brazil jumped from the seventh to the second position among the nations with more cases of covid-19. With that, it remains one of the most critical countries in the world in terms of number of infections, behind only the United States, with more than 1.5 million, according to the platform Johns Hopkins University, on Friday, 22.

The director of Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI), Sergio Cimerman, recalls that Argentina was a more successful neighbor in containing the coronavirus, mainly because the social isolation was more rigorous and the population adhered.

Argentina has seen its numbers grow lately, but to a lesser extent compared to Brazil. 648 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, 21, more than double the number detected two weeks ago. Infectologists attribute the increase in cases to the arrival of the coronavirus in poor communities in the Argentine capital, where almost 350,000 people live, without running water and in many dirt floors, where it is impossible to comply with the confinement established 63 days ago.

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