The number of municipalities that did not register deaths due to Covid-19 grew 48% in August and went from 1,678 in July to 2,500 last month, a level that the country has not reached since December 2020. The amount is equivalent to 44.88% of the 5,570 Brazilian municipalities. The data were collected by R7 and compiled by researcher Wesley Cota, from the Federal University of Viçosa, based on statistics from the Ministry of Health.
Above the rate of 2,638 in December last year, only November had a better result in fighting the pandemic, with 3,190 municipalities without covid victims. After these months, the year 2021 was successive highs in the number of deaths caused by the disease, which only began to fall from July onwards.
Before this time, even in the first weeks of the pandemic, the disease had not yet spread to all Brazilian municipalities. This took place from July 2020.
Most cases without deaths are in cities with less than 50,000 residents, among exceptions with larger populations. In August, the largest municipality with zero victims was Ubatuba, on the coast of São Paulo, with a population of 91 thousand. In the month, the state with the most cities zeroed in deaths was Minas Gerais, which had 407 municipalities included in the survey.
“Although we do not have a good percentage of those vaccinated with the two doses, we can already see the impact of vaccination against the severe forms and deaths”, explains pediatric infectologist Claudia Maekawa Maruyama. “The isolation is going to loosen up and in the use of masks not everyone has used them properly, so this is a result of the vaccination.”
For places that didn’t even register covid-19 cases during the months, the trend is the same. The rate is the best in November, worsening until March. In August, the level comes close to the end of the year.
However, pandemic levels in Brazil remain very high and, just last month, more than 20,000 people lost their lives to covid-19. The moving average of deaths this Wednesday (1), the smallest of the year so far, is still 644 deaths per day.
Specialists also warn of the Delta variant, which already has frustrated the reopening plans of other countries with vaccination coverage greater than in Brazil. A study of healthtech Hilab predicts that, in a pessimistic scenario, the coming months may bring a considerable increase in cases in Espírito Santo, Paraná, Roraima, Santa Catarina and the Federal District because of this mutation of the new coronavirus.
This pessimistic scenario considers as worsening variables the dissemination of new variants, the increase in social mobility and progressive drop in mask use among the vaccinated. “The states that will suffer the most may reach equivalent curves [das ondas anteriores da covid]”, warns the medical director of Hilab, Bernardo Almeida.
He further argues that Brazil has not yet suffered from the effects of the Delta variant after more than three months since the first cases due to the general natural immunity gained in previous outbreaks of the pandemic, which contaminated many and gave antibodies to those who recovered.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 581,150 Brazilians have died from covid-19 and another 20.8 million have been infected.
“Adding to the vaccine strategy, which further improves the immune profile of the population, this makes us feel a smaller impact from Delta compared to other countries”, he explains. “This ‘benefit’ came at the expense of a tragedy: the high mortality the virus generated.”