A group of academic and civil society organizations released on Wednesday a list of ten measures that should be taken immediately by the city of São Paulo and the metropolitan region to contain the Delta variant, which on Tuesday made its first victim in the state.
The Delta variant of the new coronavirus, which is proven to be more transmissible, is still not predominant in the state, but it already corresponds to 86% of the genotyped strains in neighboring Rio de Janeiro, increasing the number of hospitalizations.
“Unfortunately, an irresponsible atmosphere of “general freedom” is promoted by the authorities of the state of São Paulo and the capital of São Paulo. Meanwhile, the fearsome Delta variant of the Sars-Cov-2 continues to advance across the entire Brazilian territory”, states the text.
The proposals were reviewed by scientists from the Covid-19 BR Observatory and discussed by representatives of the Coalition for Life, São Paulo Front for Life and Health Plenary of the City of São Paulo, which bring together more than 500 entities. Its objective is, in addition to containing the variant, to try to reverse the inequality in the effects of the pandemic.
According to Beto Gonçalves, one of the Coalizão pela Vida coordinators, the measures follow five main axes: alignment with the 2030 Municipal Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), data transparency and social participation, prevention, control and protection, vaccination for the most vulnerable populations and socio-economic support for direct or indirect victims.
“Inequality has been deepened by the management of the health crisis that ends up protecting the inhabitants of the richest areas of the city and leaving the poorest to their own devices, who are forced to risk their lives in crowded public transport without natural ventilation in order to be able to daily seek their means of survival. We defend that the public authorities prioritize prevention and the most vulnerable in the management of the pandemic”, says the manifesto.
The measurements are:
1- Mass communication campaign on the Delta variant of the new coronavirus
The objective would be to warn about the greater transmission capacity and the need for preventive care, including by those who already have the complete vaccination schedule. The group also asks for daily disclosure of testing, hospitalizations and vaccinations, with historical series;
2 – Wide population testing
RT-PCR or RT-LAMP antigen testing campaign guided by epidemiological studies and combined with contact tracing for active case finding, including asymptomatic ones. The group also asks for sewage testing, which “allows to identify decline or increase in cases a few days in advance compared to testing”;
3 – Distribution of PFF2 and similar masks
Free and permanent distribution of individual kits (containing 7 to 10 masks each), with guidelines for use. In addition, “the city hall must indicate mandatory use in all high-risk environments (closed, poorly ventilated or crowded places), including public transport;
4- Emergency plan to improve natural ventilation indoors
The plan must contain measures to improve ventilation in all public transport, in schools, health facilities and private and public buildings with precarious, non-existent or ineffective windows to provide sanitary security, followed by inspection by the responsible public bodies;
5 – Expansion of the public transport fleet
Limit the number of passengers to avoid overcrowding and encourage voluntary actions and establish mandatory rules for the staggering of entry and exit times of companies by economic sectors (industry, services and commerce). The group also asks the government to advance in the expansion of the cycling network coupled with public bicycle parking lots;
6 – Investment in primary health care
Material and institutional support to improve the technical training of community health agents, especially in dealing with the Delta variant. This includes care for vulnerable groups, testing and guidance to the population about symptoms, prevention, treatment, vaccination and post-Covid sequelae (Covid long).
7 – Intensification of vaccination, prioritizing the periphery and the most vulnerable
Immediately start a mobile unit program. Expand the network of vaccination posts and actively search for people missing vaccination and/or vaccinated with only the first dose. It would also be an opportunity to perform antigen testing and distribute good quality masks;
8 – Comprehensive care for victims
The program must include measures to support the poor directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic. It should include physical and mental health and socioeconomic actions, such as food and income support for the poorest, in addition to school support for children and adolescents in public schools and the use of public and private green areas for the recovery of the population affected by the pandemic, especially the poorest;
9 – Suspension of all evictions
Suspend evictions, repossessions and also the collection of benefits from residents of housing projects for the low-income population during the pandemic (Sehab, Cohab and CDHU, for example). Expand the rental/social rental program for highly vulnerable families.
10 – Expansion of food security programs
Ensure the supply of food baskets to families of students who have not returned to classroom classes and expand the network of popular restaurants and community kitchens beyond the expanded center.