For the past two years, those who have escaped the worst effects of Covid-19 have run the risk of stepping on their shoes in apoplectic fury as they are absolutely unable to learn from past mistakes made by were shown to powerful people.
In Brazil the problem is even worse because here at different times something happened later than in other parts of the world. This means that in theory we have had time to see what works in other countries and what has been catastrophic – and yet we insist on the same mistakes or add our, often worse, mistakes to them.
I draw the kind reader’s attention to what happened this year after the first phase of mass vaccination in countries like Israel and the US. Both nations relatively quickly surpassed the 50% mark of the vaccinated adult population, resulting in a significant reduction in severe cases of Covid-19 and disease-related deaths.
Everything is fine, isn’t it? The pandemic appeared to be defeated in these places. The restrictions were gradually lifted until masks were no longer required even indoors. (Under other circumstances, I’d be joking about the regional chaos in the US, where every state, regardless of the country’s ideological and political bullshit, made and reversed rules on the matter, but our mishmash in this regard made it the American to defeat.)
Well, in early August 2021, Israel is talking about lockdowns again as the US tries to turn back in its thirties as the Delta variant, the most commonly transmitted form of Sars-CoV-2, the disease-causing coronavirus, progresses. In both places, reluctance by part of the population has prevented vaccines from protecting more people.
It was clear that the “general release” of the masks was premature and inconsiderate. Not that this could not be deduced before the devastating arrival of the Delta variant: Viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract are often easily spread, and everything indicates that a very high percentage of the population must be vaccinated in order to actually get them to strangle major outbreaks of Covid-19.
Remember that natural infection from disease is less likely to protect those who have recovered from disease than vaccination, and that even this supposed “natural protection” is often temporary due to the emergence of new variants of the virus.
The sum of these factors shows that it was a great idea for Jerico to announce four days of partying in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the “end of the pandemic” in September, as Mayor Eduardo Paes (PSD) did. Paes chose not to say anything on the subject as I wrote this column. Not bad, but the clutter of public risk communications is wreaking havoc that is very difficult to fix. And it remains to be explained where the mayor got this kind of announcement, considering that September is practically tomorrow from an epidemiological point of view – the transmission of the disease has a sluggishness that is very difficult to change in just a month.
Right now we have one big advantage: the Brazilian population is one of the cheapest in the world for vaccinations. It would be criminal to throw away this benefit. It is necessary to buy time for vaccination by increasing the use of masks by the end of the year, rather than weakening them. Paes and the other mayors of the country should spend the parties’ money on distributing high-quality filter masks to the population and replacing the improvised cloth masks. It is the only way to a 2022 with more hope. “
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