Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – When Rosa Dos Anjos was admitted to the COVID-19 hospital in the Amazonian capital of Manaus for 15 days in January, she thought her wealth would not increase.
A 50-year-old boy had already lost his father to the virus last year – and Dos Anjos was fighting for his life because of shortness of breath and medical equipment collapsed around him.
Although he survived for a while, his family’s struggle did not end, as his 41-year-old brother contracted the disease and saw his blood count drop to 80% in April, the deadliest month in Brazil since the outbreak began.
“Before I start worrying about myself. Now he is my brother, “Dos Anjos told Al Jazeera.
The Dos Anjos family has survived through two violent waves of coronavirus, which killed more than 400,000 people crossing the country – the second most dangerous death in the world after the United States.
As public health data shows 11 of the 27 Brazilian countries that registered a life-threatening infection and death last week, in the Amazonas case the COVID-19 cases are beginning to accelerate. Data from Fiocruz’s InfoGripe InfoGripe and medical secretary at Amazonas showed that the disease had risen by 42.3% last week in April after two consecutive weeks.
Health experts are now warning that neglecting and slow-release of the vaccine could lead to accidents – and that other outbreaks may occur. This can be especially dangerous in the Amazonas region, which is in the latter part of the respiratory season and where it is most prevalent. P.1 species of coronavirus was first identified before it became a major problem in the country.
“We are preparing for the worst possible situation,” Amazon’s state attorney Wilson Lima said last month. “[Previously] The Amazonas was the first to be captured, followed by the rest of the country. ”
The third sign
Lucas Ferrante, a biologist and researcher at the National Institute for Research in Amazon, told Al Jazeera that Amazonas could be hit by a third wave in a month and a half.
“The third wave is very worrying. It may explode as a second but may last longer. It depends on whether it produces new species, “said Ferrante, who warned of a second coming for several months before destroying the country.
Outpatient care in the Amazonas was 63 percent on May 7, according to Fiocruz data, and health experts say that if the coronavirus infection escalates, the health care system could collapse.
The Office of the Secretary of Health at Amazonas, which oversees public health services, told Al Jazeera that the department was working with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to prepare for the third wave.
“We are planning to increase the number of COVID beds and ensure that the product is adequate,” the office said in an email, among other things that could strengthen medical cooperation.
But while this is good, some medical professionals fear that it may not be enough.
“We are very concerned,” Dr Tamires Imed, who works at SPA Hospital in Manaus, told Al Jazeera. “We are very tired and have few employees. We lost many of our friends because of the disease and some resigned after getting sick again this year. ”
The government of President Jair Bolsonaro is widely criticized for the Brazilian crisis, as Senate committee on April 27 opened an investigation how to end the epidemic.
The former army commander refused to shut down, encouraged the gathering, and released the virus as a “small flu” and failed to buy the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
“An important pillar in public health and governance. But in Brazil we have lost power, ”said Eliseu Alves Waldman, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Sao Paulo (USP). “This is important not only internally but externally to ensure that paramedics can afford it.”
Brazil’s health ministry has ordered a COVID-19 vaccine of 281 million by 2021, but more than 7 percent of Brazilians have received a full dose and less than 15% of Brazilians have received their first dose so far, according to the World Health Organization. search page.
Even the criticism is growing as well to continue parliamentary investigations, Bolsonaro has remained critical and defended its arguments. Last week, he also said that China could develop a coronavirus as part of a “medical war”.
Butantan, a Chinese-made jab manufacturer at CoronaVac in Brazil, warned on May 6 that it could be vaccinated this week due to a shortage of imports from China.
Back in the Amazonas, health experts say the vaccine offers great hope but the delay in the delivery of pre-made jabs and mixtures has meant that the use of the original drug has been suspended.
More than 38 percent of Amazonas residents are fully enrolled, according to the Amazonas Health Surveillance Foundation (FVS-AM). But health workers in the region, with more than two million people over 1.571 million kilometers (607,000 kilometers) trapped near the rain forest, are facing a major shortage of people living in remote villages along rivers.
“If it rains, it will take you three days to walk along the river. Some short trips take about 12 hours, “said Bruno Correa, a senior nurse at the National Immunization Program (PNI) who works for President de Figueiredo, a small tourist town in the Amazonas.
Correa, who oversees vaccination operations in more than 11 suburbs of Manaus, said health workers walked several miles through the jungle to 70% of their service areas, while the remaining trips were by boat. . It is estimated that some 1,500 people live in remote areas.
Long-distance travel makes it difficult to receive a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. So far, 28.4% of people from rural areas have received their first dose and 0.2% have been completely burned, according to a study from FVS-AM.
“We can come and there is none. He could have moved, moved to Manaus or refused to shoot. That means our team has to come back several times to make sure all second levels are used, “Correa told Al Jazeera.
Continue to be careful
As the vaccine progresses and hopes to reduce the third outbreak, Correa said other health measures are needed to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We want to close. But the ambassadors allow schools and businesses to reopen, ”He said. “If electricity prices go up, we can breed more dangerous species. Brazil does not have enough ways to explore new species. ”
Waldman, a psychiatrist, also said that reopening was at risk. “Manaus remains a major tourist destination in the world; if the virus spreads too far, it could be dangerous, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Inloco, a state-of-the-art technology that uses GPS tracking to track human demographics, found that less than 40 percent of Amazonians respect distance, one of the lowest in northern Brazil – who lives in Manaus Dos Anjos.
“COVID feels like a ghost here. It pains me to see people on the street acting as if there were no virus. We the survivors of COVID live with the experience and care, ”he said, adding that he was planning to do worse.
“I am planning to take care of myself and survive. We are all here. Our goal now is to avoid losing lives again. ”