The Australian thinks to thank Lowy Institute conducted a survey on the responsiveness of countries to the pandemic.
Based on the collected data, they organized a ranking, the result of which shows that many countries are facing difficulties and are acting ineffective to control the pandemic. Among them, Brazil occupies the worst position.
The classification was prepared taking into account the number of confirmed cases and deaths; the proportion of cases and deaths per million inhabitants; the number of confirmed cases in relation to the proportion of tests applied and tests per thousand inhabitants.
Brazil is in the worst position among the 98 countries for which the available data has been assessed. In order, the five worst are: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Iran and the United States.
The performance of the Brazilian government
The performance of the Brazilian government is not only ineffective. There is an intention not to fight the pandemic, with the establishment of an institutional strategy for the spread of the coronavirus, as research by Cepedisa (USP) / Conectas Human Rights shows.
Health actions were initially conflicting and dubious, oscillating between the promotion of prevention and denial.
However, the Brazilian strategy has been consolidated and deployed from denial of the virus and the pandemic, through minimizing the severity of Covid-19, resulting in systematic deterrence to the use of masks and deterrence to vaccination , all reinforced by sales. of a great illusion: the promise of a prophylactic and curative treatment embodied by the so-called “Covid-19 Kit”.
Successful strategy. The PNAD Covid-19 survey, conducted in September 2020, shows that of the 8.3 million people who presented with flu-like symptoms, only 2 million consulted a doctor.
Of the rest, 71.6% chose to stay at home as a precaution and 57.8% reported self-medicating.
The Covid-19 kit
Even without any scientific proof, the Covid-19 kit “went viral”, mainly because it was recommended, produced and distributed by the Department of Health, prescribed by many doctors, while Jair Bolsonaro never missed an opportunity to promote the alleged curative potential of these drugs, and to appear publicly without a mask and in built-up areas.
Ivermectin, a lice medicine, is one of them. It was indicated for prophylactic purposes and even distributed free to the population by certain municipal health services.
Continued use has been recommended “throughout the pandemic”. The drug should be taken, at the dose prescribed by a doctor, every 15 days, at the frequency necessary to maintain “the plasma level of the drug in the human body for the duration of the pandemic”.
It is not uncommon to find people who have adopted the practice, without any medical follow-up and completely unaware of the risks to which they expose their health.
The Covid-19 Kit is successful in a society with a curative culture, used to self-medication, it’s true.
But its greatest success is to free people: for work (of course!), But also for free movement, for the organization of parties, family celebrations in large cities, from New Year to Carnival.
Recently, bathers on the beaches in the town of Santos have gained prominence in the media, claiming that Covid-19 does not exist, or that a trusted doctor has said it is only necessary to use Kit-Covid-19, as a disease. would be nothing more than a cold.
Some interviewees echoed Bolsonaro’s speech, who never tires of reminding us that “we are all going to die one day!”. But the “we are all going to die” sounds on the sand of the beaches is followed by: “If I can take the bus, train or subway to work, I can go to the beach on weekends”.
When the individualized risk and naturalization of death are imposed as a condition of survival, preventive and collective health strategies such as those necessary for the preservation of life during the pandemic lose their meaning. This is the essence of the challenged Unified Health System (SUS).
Pandemic and inequalities
Political decisions and speeches matter. They have behavior, have the potential to promote chaos or social cohesion. During a pandemic, its effects are absolutely obvious.
In Brazil, the induced behavior results in a dizzying increase in the number of cases, by the emergence of new variants of the virus, by the lack of essential inputs (such as oxygen in Manaus), by the explosion in the number of dead.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Data from the Covid-19 PNAD and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SRAG) Hospitalization Database, analyzed by researchers Lígia Bahia and Jéssica Pronestino, show inequalities reproduced and deepened by chaos, and error contained in the “let’s all die”.
According to the PNAD, 28.6 million people in Brazil have been tested for coronavirus infection, of which 6.3 million have tested positive. Among those whose income is between half the minimum wage and the minimum wage, 9.9% passed the test; between one and two minimum wages, 14.4%; among those earning four or more minimum wages, we saw a jump: 29.3% were tested.
Lethality was highest among the poorest.
The mentioned analysis shows that among hospitalized patients with confirmed cases of SARS, considering their color / race, the lethality was 56% in whites and 79% in non-whites.
When we look at the proportion of deaths by level of education, we see a higher case fatality rate among those who attended primary school 2: 71.3% of deaths among those without education; 59.1% among those who attended primary school 1; 47.6% among those who attended primary school 2.
At medium and higher levels, we see a decrease in lethality: 35% among those with an average level, 22.5% for those with a higher level.
Death from Covid-19 has color, class, income, and education. He is socially and politically determined. Health is socially determined.
Apparently the government has unlearned this valuable lesson. This is obvious which is also observed in other countries, but which has worsened in Brazil.
Neoliberalism and health
The pandemic and the performance of countries like Brazil present us with two urgent and complementary challenges, particularly sensitive for public health systems.
The first is to understand the power and the impacts of the neoliberal project on our societies and to look for ways allowing a reaction.
The second is to save and renew the conceptual and political debate on the social determinants of health and to affirm for citizens the importance that public managers act on them and on them.
In this context, neoliberalism manifests itself in the lack of horizons, shared individually and collectively; in the presentism that binds people to the emergencies of everyday life.
With the chances of survival reduced to individual risk management, the individual dismisses the collective, is responsible for his luck and, perversely, for his health, which makes the fallacious promise of a cure for Kit Covid-19 charming.
The social blackout progressively promoted by the neoliberal project in Brazil is at the center of the crisis we are facing today. We must rediscover the centrality of the community if we want death not to be the only possible horizon.