The end of the emergency that never was – 04/19/2022 – Atila Iamarino

This week started with the Minister of Health announcing that he must publish the end of the public health emergency by Covid. First of all, it is worth asking: since when does the federal government act as if we are in an emergency?

The decree to be suspended was made in February 2020, when the ministry was still acting against the contagion of the virus. But, since March of the same year, the actions of the federal government have promoted the contagion. It’s been a while since we acted according to the emergency we went through.

Even so, this measure can be costly.

We are still on the Covid honeymoon, that lull after the massive immunization. But we don’t know how long this lull can last. And the focus should be on measures that maintain this good scenario for longer. Like the readjustment of environments to increase ventilation – something that protects us even from the next respiratory viruses that will come. And especially the increase in vaccination coverage. We still have millions without two doses of vaccine, we need a booster dose campaign and childhood vaccination has left a lot to be desired.

Currently, without masks in closed places and the return of agglomerations ensure that the only barrier containing the coronavirus in Brazil is immunity. And this is a permeable barrier that we have already seen variants breaching, due to two phenomena that are still very important.

The delta variant took advantage of the natural drop in immunity against the coronavirus that occurs in cured and vaccinated individuals. And the omnin has changed enough to, moreover, evade the immune response that remains.

In both cases, we saw waves in several countries, even where vaccination coverage reached rates like ours today.

The least we can expect from Covid are seasonal seasons, when falling immunity and environmental conditions (such as winter) add up. Not to mention the real possibility and with precedents of having new variants with more immune escape. Given these conditions, we will have other waves. But waves that are caused by increasingly transmissible versions of the virus as its evolution continues.

The omicron, which swept the world in December and January, showed how much more transmissible the virus is than in 2020. And it has already spawned new, even more transmissible variants, which are causing headaches in the US and China, which we just don’t feel on the skin and in hospitals here because the vaccines continue to work.

This means that the next waves of Covid could be sudden like the last one. As long as vaccines work, we won’t see as many deaths as in the 2020s and 2021s, which is great. But a wave of such cases still causes great damage.

No barriers, when the virus can infect most quickly, even milder cases can take many people out of work. Once masks were no longer mandatory on planes in the UK, several flights had to be canceled because of sick crew.

Hospitals have become a minefield for patients with other conditions who are vulnerable to those who arrive infected, even if those people are seeking care with Covid and not because of Covid.

The result is that many miss exams, care and even ambulances because of patients and health professionals with the virus. This in a health system that has already been through the last two years of a pandemic.

The end of the pandemic is not as clear as the end of a war, with the surrender of one side or a peace treaty. The virus did not get tired nor was it warned that the emergency was over. On the contrary, he continues to specialize in infecting us. It is up to us to take the measures that guarantee peace.

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