The lockdown – a stricter measure on the scale of social isolation – will be enacted in the State of São Paulo if the state health committee deems it necessary to contain the number of cases of covid-19 and prevent the collapse of the health system. “There will be no decision of a political nature neither to inhibit nor to apply, except the one determined by health, said the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), in an exclusive interview to Estadão.
Doria also spoke about chloroquine, the risk of looting and robberies and the expectation for 2021. “It will be a sad and hurt country,” he says. Below are the main excerpts from the interview:
If there is a federal decision on the use of chloroquine that is different from what doctors think is correct, how will you act?
In São Paulo, medical, science and health decisions will prevail. No political, personal, personalist, partisan or ideological decision will be placed ahead of science. If any manifestation, even if by federal government decree, violates the principles of science and protection of life, it will not be practiced here. We will go to court if necessary.
The state had purchased 3,000 respirators, but the supplier will only deliver 1,200. Is there a risk that São Paulo will not be able to set up as many ICUs as it needs?
This Chinese supplier secured us part of a new shipment of 1,280 respirators. I can anticipate that we got another thousand respirators, which will arrive by June 15th. There are 2,380 respirators, which meet our basic need for expanding ICU beds. In addition, we also had a commitment … Now we no longer know, but we have a commitment from the Ministry of Health to provide 200 respirators. We have to have more respirators, more basic beds, and have enough staff: paramedics, nurses, physiotherapists and doctors. Next week, we will open another field hospital in Heliópolis. If necessary, we will open a room in the metropolitan area. We have the capacity for that.
Is there a comfort situation?
Right now, (the situation) is under control. We do not have a risk of collapse at this point – and it is always necessary to emphasize this point. Demand in the metropolitan region has grown, but it is still manageable. The arrival of new respirators will help us maintain a reasonable safety margin. Inside, the index is also safe at the moment. But you have to be very careful, because the speed with which this disease expands is very high.
How does confusion in the federal government hinder coping with the disease?
We had a great relationship with Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta. He was Republican and technical. In exchange, we wait for the new minister, Nelson Teich, to follow the same line. And that’s what happened. He acted as a doctor would. The 200 respirators were planned in stages. The minister was careful to say that there was a frustration in the number of respirators purchased by the federal government, but that he would designate 25 respirators, in batches of 25, until reaching 200. Since the need is 3 thousand – it is important to emphasize that they are 200 respirators out of the 3 thousand we are in need of. 46 million Brazilians live here and it is the epicenter of the coronavirus.
How do you see the possible arrival of a name from the military area to the post?
I have no objection to anyone coming from the military, as long as I have knowledge, training and, in the specific case of health, a commitment to health and science.
And a name indicated by Centrão, from whom the president has been seeking support?
I prefer not to make speculative assessments. But, whoever he is, he will have to make clear his commitment to life, to science and to social isolation, and not to ideological, partisan commitments, or to say amen to what the president asks for.
The federal government points out that, given the economic crisis, there is a risk of looting, robberies. Do public security officials in the state see this too?
This is false. It is more a falsehood and a bad orientation of the federal government. The biggest risk is to people’s lives. It is neither looting nor assault. The virus does not choose who it will target – it is in all socioeconomic classes, at all ages, regardless of gender. It is unfortunate that we have information of this nature in Brazil (of looting and robbery).
Why can’t São Paulo increase isolation?
Because we have a double communication for public opinion. Most governors and mayors make an effort to isolate themselves, show the importance of the measure for protection of health and life and recommend that people stay at home. On the other hand, the federal government, through the President of the Republic, directs exactly the opposite. (The President) does not wear masks when he should use them, promotes agglomerations, pronounces against isolation, classifies the coronavirus as having a cold and a little cold, and instead of being at home he has fun, strolling on Jet Ski, doing shooting exercise, promoting barbecue or intending to do so.
How is the isolation of mr. and your family?
We protect ourselves. First, with the use of gel alcohol. With the protocols of hygiene measures and also with the use of masks, even inside the car, the use of masks by all of us, my children and my wife Bia, and in compliance with medical recommendations. We stayed at home on the weekends. I have to be here for office duty, and my wife is part-time here at the Palace and the other half of the time at the residence. And my children stay at home.
A theme always at the table is lockdown. You said it could be implemented, if the protocols recommend it. What protocols are these?
There are several types of protocols, local and regional. Who will say whether the need motivates application or not is the health committee. There will be no decision of a political nature, neither to inhibit nor to apply, except that determined by health.
Do they have any connection with the ICU capacity?
The key to the whole effort of social isolation is precisely not to overload the public and private networks. If we do not have beds for primary care and beds for ICU care, the risk is to increase not only infection and the severity of the infection, but the number of deaths. And it’s everything we don’t want.
How would the lockdown be?
It would be the level of isolation close to the absolute. Only those who are in areas of absolute necessity move: public safety, health, basic services, such as electricity, telephone, water, public transport, and supplies, such as pharmacies and supermarkets. It is a harder and more rigorous insulation. But, I repeat, although this protocol exists, it is not currently put into application. But it is always important to point out that if there is such a need, and if it is determined by a rapid and unexpected growth of the coronavirus, we will put it into action.
What is the biggest difficulty in managing the crisis?
Facing the two viruses: the coronavirus and the ‘Bolsonaro virus’. I don’t know which is worse.
Bolsonaro said he is in a war. Mr. do you feel at war?
Our war here is against the coronavirus. My concern is to attend to health, protect people and ensure that they can have the correct orientation, the correct care, whether at the primary level or at the ICU level, and be properly oriented. This is our war.
The president said to “get tough” with you. Do you already feel greater pressure?
None. No businessman called me because of that meeting when the president asked them to play hardball. I received no phone calls, no WhatsApp, no emails, no visits. São Paulo’s entrepreneurs, those who are truly entrepreneurs, participated in this meeting in respect of the condition of the president occupying the position he holds. But they are conscious, parents, human beings, and have enough intelligence to know that no pressure is going to change our idea of protecting lives.
Will the political split continue?
A conflagrated country. Conflagrated by a president of the republic who encourages conflagration, he likes conflagration, that is, it stimulates confrontation, even as a way of survival. It is everything that Brazil did not need.
In the face of all this, as Mr. now look at the election campaign, with you dressed in a yellow T-shirt that says ‘Bolsodoria’?
Repentance. I had no idea that the then candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who spoke of a liberal policy, of a liberal economy, which I defend, and also spoke of the transformative and transparency program in the country – having already invited at that time, expressed interest in having Sergio Moro with a member of his team. I had a vision of hope. In less than two months, I clearly realized that this was false.
And how do you deal with the pressure coming from the mayors?
Most mayors have been correct in their dialogue with the state. Very few have tried to make the wrong decisions – which, incidentally, have all been affected by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and also by the Court of Justice, who have been acting, by the way, in a very correct way too. The dialogue was strengthened by the creation of the Municipal Council, with 16 mayors representing the 16 metropolitan regions of the State.
His administration had two frictions with that of Mayor Bruno Covas: on the supervision of the use of masks and on the mega rotation. Are there questions to be adjusted?
Relationships are still very good, especially between Bruno Covas and me. Sometimes, team adjustments, a tense moment of a pandemic, are part of the daily life of a mega metropolis and a mega state. But the dialogue between the transport secretaries remains fluid. The understanding after that moment when the secretary ended up being surprised with a measure that had not previously been discussed with him (the rotation) was resolved.
Mr. do you think the mayoral elections will have to be postponed?
It is a decision of the Superior Electoral Court and circumstantially also of the Legislative Power, it is not up to the Executive to give an opinion or make suggestions. But I understand that it is difficult to hold the election on the current calendar scheduled for October. There is not enough time for the qualifications and nominations of candidates and the time needed also for the campaign. I understand that the Superior Electoral Court already knows this, should assess this circumstance, and perhaps recommend a new date.
What about Enem? Should it be postponed?
For sure. We also have to offer adequate conditions so that Enem can be processed, correctly and also fairly. Failure to change the calendar will cause a dysfunction in the result, and this will reflect an error. It would be more appropriate to reevaluate a new date.
If we think that we will survive the pandemic, how do you see the country in 2021?
I see the country very saddened and hurt. First for the deaths and for the people who were victims of the coronavirus. Even among those who survive, many will have congenital problems resulting from comorbidities aggravated by the coronavirus. And sadness. All people who lose loved ones spend a long time with this sadness in their hearts, in their memories, in their souls. Brazil will be a sadder country in 2021. And sad for the lack of leadership, for having a president who does not lead properly, who has no compassion.
Bolsonaro walks to the Supreme Court to meet with Toffoli