Posts Tagged ‘Pandemic’

To avoid a fourth wave

20 Sep

The map at the side, official WHO, clearly indicates the three waves of Covid, the new variants and a resistant Pandemic demand a final effort so that it is possible to think a 2022 without the restrictions that are uncomfortable, of course, but still necessary.

The small town of Floraí in the northwest of Paraná State (Brazil) is a good illustration of the need for this care, the small town of just over 5,000 inhabitants received a stage of a handball championship and before, with only two cases, it rose to 68 in one week.

Looking at the WHO chart and the data from Brazil, we have a moving average of deaths above 500 in a still very slow fall, what is most talked about is the possibility of more flexible measures, which in many cases is already happening, however care still continues.

Brazil reached 65% vaccination of the first dose and just over 37% for the second dose, if we look at the data from July, when we had already reached 30% of those vaccinated, it can be noted that there is a slowness especially in second dose without any explanation.

Europe enters its autumn, while the southern hemisphere in its spring, it is to be expected that in the heat the proliferation of the virus will decrease, but if care is maintained and vaccination evolves.

The great danger in Europe, and I don’t see any comment or concern, are opportunistic diseases, that is, clinically they are those infections caused by microorganisms that even in people with normal immunity, due to other diseases, can cause infections or even conditions immunodepressants in convalescent patients or those who went through the contagion, after all, there are more than 200 million people who have already been infected with the virus, all over the planet.

At the beginning of the Pandemic, WHO had warned of the problem of treating post-covid in many patients, but the topic was forgotten and as these are not isolated cases, a mass treatment would be necessary, what may lie ahead is difficult to know without a medical research, but not difficult to imagine, it would be like a new post-pandemic epidemic, I leave it to the doctors.

We need to come out strengthened, at least in terms of health, in terms of solidarity, many of the world’s analysts have already thrown in the towel, we were not able to treat a common problem as such, it seems that it is a problem for the other, for those who had the disease, of course not for everyone, there is a moral reserve in society that still guarantees future hope.



Was the old normal normal?

14 Sep

In his book “A Change Path: Coronavirus Lessons Needed”, Edgar Morin elaborates 15 lessons of the pandemic and the challenges that will come when we overcome it, and it must be said that we are still close to halfway through immunization.

He points out in his book: “Isolation was a reclusion, but also an inner liberation from timed time, the workers’ driving-work-bed rhythm, the workload of the liberal professions (…) Ending the isolation, let’s go resume the infernal race?” asks the centenary thinker.

A more sustainable world, with greater global cooperation (and fewer centralizations), harsh social isolation has shown that some of these changes are possible.

The regeneration of nature, the small respite we gave showed that nature can still recover, but with less transport, with more sustainable industries, with more solidary actions and emergency relief for the poor in vulnerable situations, with little circulation of planes and ships through the world gave some positive signs of nature.

The unpredictability of the Pandemic, the proximity of death and the halt to the force of humanity put in check old “truths” and laws that seemed solid were not, in this moment of crisis it is possible to think of a new direction, the time to “change lanes” as the sociologist wants.

In addition to a great social reform, a personal reform that takes into account all human complexity (not the man focused only on the conquest and domination of nature), the change in ethical values, and a new regenerated humanism, can be a utopia , but perhaps it is a last chance for a civilization in crisis.

Morin wrote: “Solidarity and responsibility are not only political and social, but personal imperatives. We should already understand that social reform and personal reform are inseparable. Ghandi wrote: Let’s be the change we want to see in the world”, without changing course we will arrive at the same dilemmas of modernity: injustices and tiredness.

MORIN, E. It’s time to change course – Coronavirus lessons. Bertrand of Brazil, 2020.


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Slow fall and protocols

13 Sep

Although the WHO warns of the possibility of a new wave due to inequality in the fight against the pandemic, which due to the number of vaccines also does not see priority in the third dose, even some Institutes dispute (AstraZeneca, for example), the fall in Brazil is slow, and here the controversy is due to poorly applied and punctually rigorous protocols.

In the country, the total number of doses is 210 million, but the total number of people vaccinated is 72.6 million, which gives 34.4% and it makes sense to say that the third dose is still to be thought about, since the number of vaccines is limited and yet both the fall in deaths and vaccination are slow.

There is also controversy around the vaccines, Chile is applying the third dose with Pfizer and AstraZeneca under the argument that the “combination” is good, but looking at the vaccines that are accepted in European protocols, only AstraZeneca, Pfizer , Moderna and Jenssen are consensus.

To understand the controversy created by the interruption of the Brazil x Argentina game after ANVISA’s (Brazil Agencie) requirement that 3 players be removed from the game (only 1 was on the bench), it is necessary to understand the Interministerial Ordinance 655/2021 which established a period of 14 days for quarantine set for people arriving in the country via South Africa, India and the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, and that Brazil´s International Airports are aware of, but only sign a paper.

There is no local Anvisa agency at the airport to verify that the information provided is in fact true, and only hours after this is done in specific cases that have repercussions in the press.

So there are protocols, use of masks, procedures in bars, restaurants and supermarkets, but anyone who walks around observes whole families in these places, misuse of the mask and sometimes even not using it and because of this it causes revolt, law enforcement is only punctual.

Not to mention the release and flexibility that occurs in many situations where there is agglomeration, schools, in Rio de Janeiro, a team may have fans in the game on next Wednesday, the demonstrations on September 7th and 12th, etc. finally, the protocols must be complied with, but always so that the law is effective and respected by the citizens.

There is still not a broad understanding that the fight to be effective has to be global, there has to be a basic set of protocols that all countries sign to avoid their demoralization, and these are necessary.

As for the third dose, only if there is an assumed ineffectiveness of any vaccine justifies the third dose, as they will be necessary for people who have not yet been vaccinated and for the 2nd. dose.



The The return to frivolity will not be simple

06 Sep

This is the phrase of the most respected living German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, and a lot of news indicates that they may have to live with the covid for longer than we imagine, the feted New Zealand for fighting the pandemic, announced last week a death for the covid.

Vaccination remains important because there are still cases of death, the numbers in Brazil until the weekend are 66,862,534 people who completed the vaccination schedule, this corresponds to 31.34% of the country’s population, while those with the first dose is over 134 million, corresponding to 62.90% of the population, which is insufficient to make the measures more flexible.

It would be enough if it weren’t for the Delta variants and now the Mu (5 cases in Brazil and many cases in Colombia), which has already arrived in Colombia and is even more lethal, the delta is already present in many regions and is the probable cause of high deaths in Rio de Janeiro, Roraima and Espírito Santos, the others we are remain falling but slow.

Peter Sloterdijk’s analysis for the newspaper El Pais about an improbable (his view) returns to the old normality, what he calls frivolity is explained by conceiving the current reality where a “gigantic sphere of consumption is based on the collective production of a frivolous atmosphere . Without frivolity, there is no public or population that shows an inclination to consumption”, and in a way the pandemic broke this link.

Everyone is waiting now, even so-called progressive conceptions, as the philosopher says: “that this link will be reconnected again, but it will be difficult”, many have learned to live the essentials.

Using a modern concept also used for disruptive technologies, his vision of an anthropotechnics is important for a more sensible analysis, explains the current phase: “after such a big disruption, the return to frivolity standards will not be easy”, he says in interview with daily El Pais.

Understanding that the process is now global and this is the “new of this current outbreak”, says the philosopher, before we had “relatively regular outbreaks, but, in the past, people tended to return to their common habits of existence”, ie, a frivolous thought, life and consumption.

While we have not been able to elaborate some form of mutualism, which Sloterdijk defends, he goes back to using his concept of community, prior to this crisis, and states: “this crisis reveals the need for a deeper practice of mutualism”.

It will come, but the polycrisis, as Edgar Morin called the current crisis before the pandemic, will widen, the environmental, social and justice.



Caution and caution with new variants

30 Aug

In Brazil until Saturday, the Ministry of Health distributed more than 230 million of the vaccines against covid-19, these 187 million have already been applied, being 128.4 million in first doses and 59 million having completed the scheme, which gives 36 .9% of the population, and still not enough, as the new variants affect while the scheme is not completed.

The number of deaths and infections in Brazil has been falling slowly, but it is still in the range just below the 1,000 daily deaths of the moving average and close to 20,000 daily infections.

Extensive research carried out by FioCruz revealed that by completing the vaccination scheme, the AstraZeneca-Fiocruz and CoronaVac vaccines are effective against infection, hospitalization and death: AstraZeneca-Fiocruz with 90% protection and CoronaVac with 75%.

Thus, with 36.9% of the vaccination schedule, the current stage of immunization is still fragile, and the new protocols for flexibility have no scientific basis, except for research carried out with rigor and proven data, all information disclosed, even by official bodies, is not are reliable.

The infectologist and researcher at Fiocruz Julio Croda, said in an interview with CNN, that it is necessary to speed up vaccination to protect people more effectively against the Delta variant, and that the effectiveness drops for the elderly and people with comorbidities.

As for the possibility of using the mixed vaccine scheme, called interchangeability, a study conducted by the University of Oxford, UK, showed that the vaccines that show better immune responses are the combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, with an interval and four weeks, with the highest results being AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer.

Flexibility is the responsibility of government health agencies, but care is a personal measure that we can all take, while avoiding crowding, using masks correctly and using alcohol gel, must continue to follow the protocols.

A long period of pandemic also causes personal and psychological stress, it is necessary to find occasions for outdoor walks, relaxation in different ways and virtual contacts with friends and colleagues in the work environment.




Delta variant still worries

23 Aug

The cases of the Delta variant and the new Alfa variant, which came from the United Kingdom are still worrying, monitoring is needed, movement control, and in the case of Brazil, the state of Ceará, which has 43 cases, provides an example, having created a monitoring center and screening for travelers, Ceará has 43 Delta cases and there is already a case of the Alfa variant coming from the United Kingdom.

The cases in state of Ceará (Brazil) are 24 women and 19 men, the majority (33) are between 20 and 39 years old, which makes sense because the second dose is still happening at the ages, there are cases coming from Nova Friburgo (RJ) and São Paulo and the others live in 20 different municipalities in Ceará, all of whom had mild, moderate, or asymptomatic symptoms.

It is a moment of caution and the flexibility of many state governments may be premature, the curve of deaths and infections is at a stable level, and with vaccination, the expectation was for it to fall.

As reported by the consortium of press vehicles, the number of people who received the first dose is 122 million while 54 million took the necessary doses (a vaccine uses only one dose), were the data of last Saturday (21/08).

As safety for the delta variable is necessary for complete immunization, the exact number of 54,890,099 people (24.92%), which gives a quarter of the population, is too low for the new Delta and Alpha variants (which are already starting to advance in the country), the possibility of reaching 60% immune is still far, September will be a fatal month, and the level of infections and deaths is still high and stable.

Some states are slightly above (states of Brazil) Mato Grosso do Sul (40.59%), São Paulo (32.40%), Rio Grande do Sul (31.62%) and Espírito Santo (28.33%), the others are close or below of an average of 25% complete immunization, according to the press consortium.

Recents data indicate that the Southeast pulls the infection curve up by 7%.

We must learn from Southeast Asian countries as infections grow due to low vaccination rates, even countries like China, Japan and South Korea are seeing increasing outbreaks, as reported by the CNN website, data from Brazilian daily “O Globo” indicates data from some countries in the region, infections in blue and deaths in black (figure).



Genomic surveillance and precautions

16 Aug

According to José Eduardo Levi, coordinator of the Genomic Surveillance Scientific Project (Genov), 11 of the 1380 analyzed between May and June had a mutation called P681H, in which the amino acid proline is replaced by another one, histidine, and is being called Gamma plus.

The Delta variant is already spread across the country with a record of 760 cases up to 5 days ago, however, Gama-plus: “a convergent mutation with a characteristic of Delta, a variant that usually presents this structural change” said the project coordinator Genov.

Many experts have warned that easing may be premature, and we may have to live with restrictions for a while, although the rate of vaccination has advanced, it still does not have a sufficient safety margin beyond the risk of new variants.

The death of actor Tarcisio Meira from complications of covid-19, having taken the two doses of the vaccine, rekindled the debate on the effectiveness of vaccines, but experts are categorical in saying, based on studies by USP and UNESP, that 91.49% of those who died did not have the second dose or the single dose in the case of the Janssen vaccine.

On the other hand, the Delta, Delta-plus and Gama-plus variants are of concern to infectologists around the world and many countries are reviewing the flexibility measures, however the WHO itself warns of the “false sense of security” due to 80% of cases of infection of the last 4 weeks are of the Delta variant.

It should also be noted that the younger population, the most prone to activities that can cause crowding, still do not have the second full dose and it is important to maintain restrictions so that the new, more lethal variants do not cause countless deaths.


Delta variant and slow vaccination

09 Aug

The delta variant of covid 19 has lit a warning around the world that the pandemic may not yet be under control. In Brazil, the recent Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Bulletin (FioCruz) states after a study that there is a dangerous combination, high Delta contagion and slow vaccination .

The risk of the explosion of a new wave of contamination and infection is worrying, the study points out that Brazil already has 435 confirmed cases of the Delta variant and in 19 states the levels of contamination are dangerous despite being declining.

In an interview with CNN, last Friday (08/06), deputy director Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned that confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Brazil are just the “tip of the iceberg” and highlighted the importance “that the vast majority of cases of the variant are asymptomatic or mild, which do not realize and are not tested”.

We cannot relax prevention and isolation measures, recalled Jarbas Barbosa, in the cases of Chile and Uruguay that after relaxing measures had a new wave of infections, although Uruguay announced a weekend without deaths for the first time.

The contagion comparison made with the Delta variant is didactic, as contagious as chickenpox, can cause more severe symptoms than the previous variants and are also transmissible among vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), in an article published in The Washington Post, in a note signed by Maíra Menezes, the Fiocruz postcard also warns of the danger of this variant.

Vaccination is important, which is still slow, the current numbers are close to 45 million for the two doses and 100 million for the first dose, it is possible to accelerate and as there is still no explosion of the Delta variant in the country, if combined with preventive measures, we can prevent a new wave of infections, hospital overflows and deaths.

Both infections and deaths that fall slowly in Brazil have a tendency towards stability with a slight increase, it is too early to say that it is the Delta variant, but a policy of testing and prevention would be important, researchers of Fiocruz warns of the lack of a plan B.



The danger of the delta variant and vaccination

02 Aug

Concerns are growing about the delta variant of the coranavirus,  the indication is that some vaccines may not be fighting this variant, the growing number of infections, even in countries with advanced vaccination, is worrying.

WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus said two days ago to various media outlets at a press conference: “New cases of contamination and deaths continue to rise. There were 4 million new cases in one week. At this rate, we will surpass the mark of 200 million of infected in two weeks, although we know that this is an underestimated number”, he pointed out.

Since the third week of July, Europe and the United States have again registered an increase in infections due to the delta variant.

Even in China, which had controlled the pandemic, this number grew again, still small (200 cases), but it is already spread over several regions. peoples in dangerous cities will be tested.

In Brazil the moving average is below a thousand daily deaths, it slowly drops as vaccination progresses, but cases of the delta variant already appear in the country, and the real effectiveness of the vaccine in relation to this variant is concerned, there is poor monitoring in some states, testing should begin immediately and en masse, there is no evidence.

The idea of making the measures more flexible continues and will probably not go back until another outbreak, only one state (Rio de Janeiro) registers an increase, 8 states in stability and 15 in decline (São Paulo is one of these).

The WHO and the World Bank call for the urgent application of vaccines in poor countries, the average in high-income countries is the application of 98.2 doses per 100 inhabitants; while in low-income groups, the number is 1.6 doses per 100 people.

Regardless of the effectiveness of vaccines, vaccination must continue and so must restriction.


Accelerated vaccination and new concerns

19 Jul

Vaccination accelerated in July as was the optimistic expectation, the fall in infections and deaths is still very slow and the new waves of infection in countries in the region such as Chile and Argentina light a warning sign, Peru was already in high numbers and some countries in Europe, such as Russia, also show that the Epidemic is far from over.

Argentina reached on Wednesday (14/7) the symbolic mark of 100,000 deaths, high for a population of 44.5 million inhabitants, and entered a new lockdown, with results already containing the new high, the numbers in week fell again.

Brazil like Argentina reaches the number of vaccinated 16% and 11% respectively, while the first dose in Brazil reaches 44.5% and Argentina 45% (see chart above), the next numbers suggest greater attention to the possibility of a new ascending curve, it would be a greater expansion of the delta variant, climatic factors (Chile and Argentina are colder) or even a variant called lambda , and the effectiveness of the Russian Sputnik is questioned.

The lambda variant detected in Peru is frightening, called C.37, its preliminary studies indicate greater lethality and the ability to circumvent vaccines is serious. Researcher Pablo Tsukayama, coordinator of the Microbial Genetics laboratory at the Cayetano Heredia de Lima University, detected that the variant it is already 100% of the infected cases in Peru as of April 2021.

The lack of open data hinders the research, the Ministry of Health of Peru does not disclose it and Professor Tsukayama is one of those protesting this lack of access.

Another issue of concern is the lack of scientific data on the effectiveness of vaccination for the new variants, there are many people who make statements trying to compromise, but do not present clear scientific studies, for example, on new variants such as lambda.

One of these studies, reported by the newspaper El País on July 11, is by Chilean virology Ricardo Soto Rifo, who focused on the CoronaVac vaccine, the main one used in Chile, in a group of volunteer health workers who discovered that lambda presents “increased capacity for infection and immune escape against neutralizing antibodies”, the extent of such loss remains to be clarified.

Another study pointing out in El País is that of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, from the University of New York, pointing out that the results were “relatively lower”, but Professor Tsukayma makes a less than encouraging observation: “It is practically impossible to predict how a virus will suffer mutation”, but reducing transmission is possible through vaccines and this is effective.