MS Risk Blog

Brazil and its Catastrophic Medical Crisis

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Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Brazil as the more transmissible P1 variant spreads across the country.In Brazil, the federal government has attempted to gain herd immunity by contagion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, this has resulted in the untimely deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, led the strategy to encourage COVID-19 to spread. Brazil has since descended into an unparalleled health disaster, as predicted.

Brazil accounted for almost one-third of all daily COVID-19 deaths in the world last week, despite accounting for just 2.7 percent of the global population. There were 12.8 million cases and over 325 thousand deaths on April 2nd. The week of March 21-27 saw a regular 0.8 percent increase in cases and a 1.9 percent increase in deaths; lethality has increased from 2% to 3.3 percent since late 2020. The new variants circulating in Brazil have caused grave concern in neighbouring countries.

Most of the concern is being applied to the P1 version, related to the Brazilian Amazon. If Brazil cannot regulate its high transmission rate, analysts fear the country’s healthcare disaster could endanger the world. If the virus is left to spread naturally, it may provide the perfect breeding ground for new and even more lethal strains.

Brazil’s neighbours have sealed their borders to the country in a futile effort to deter new variants from spreading into the rest of the continent and harming vaccine efficacy. Even in the pandemic’s darkest times, the far-right leader appears to ignore warnings from health authorities for a nationwide lockdown, criticises the use of masks, ignores evidence, suggests unproven treatments and minimises Brazil’s soaring death toll. He still upholds a false opposition between the economy and health, claiming that lockdown measures would cause starvation, unemployment, and social chaos.

Bolsonaro continues hosting public conferences, encouraging science denialism, and defending the early use of unsuccessful medications against covid-19. The so-called “Covid kit,” marketed by the federal government, contains hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, ivermectin, which are anticoagulants, and can induce haemorrhage, renal failure, and arrhythmias. In Sao Paulo, at least five patients who were prescribed the “early treatment” have joined the liver transplant line and three have died from hepatitis.

Experts also confirm that a shortage of social distancing steps has provided the perfect condition for variants to mutate. Since June 2020, Brazil’s infections and fatalities reached a constant rate of nearly 1,000 deaths a day, causing many to believe the worst was over. For months, Brazilians commuted on crowded public transport and filled its beaches, bars and nightclubs. As Brazilians tended to ignore containment procedures, the P1 mutant hatched, and it is thought to have appeared in the Brazilian Amazon at the end of 2020. In just a few weeks, Manaus’ health-care system has all but failed. According to the Fiocruz research institute, the P1 version now accounts for more than 80% of cases in the two most populated states of Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo. It was 0 percent three months ago.

By late March, an alleged “self-coup” attempt by Bolsonaro failed against the resistance of Armed Forces, which have opposed the President’s intention to militarily intervene in the states adopting quarantine measures. Nevertheless, the President still engages in an all-out war against governors and mayors, whom he labels as “dictators” who violate citizens’ rights and harm the economy.

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) announced that the P1 variant has been found to be leading the second wave in at least 15 countries in the Americas. Experts contend that closing their boundaries would have no impact now variants of risk have entered.

According to the international criminal jurisprudence, the extensive and systemic use of coercion to force the public to act a certain way, according to a preconceived strategy, which implements substantial public and private means, may detail an assault on the civilian population. The fact stands that, if the decision to attempt herd immunity from COVID-19 by encouraging contagion to propagate unregulated remains unpunished, it is likely to become an extraordinary way for potential rulers to injure marginalised people by ignoring public health interventions.