COVID STATUS | How’s the pandemic doing?



Abroad, a third wave. In Brasil, another sad record of daily deaths is set. We are far from ending this.

Update: 01/04/2021

Let’s start with a story. Understanding that the pandemic would be a reality present in our days longer than we would like to, MJournal proposed STATUS COVID in its 005 issue. Now, we’re in the 007 issue. This is my 16th STATUS’ update. And I was hoping to have better news (not to lose my dream that it will eventually happen...).


Although at the beginning I imagined that it would be a work that was sometimes even repetitive, the real thing is that today I feel that I have not prepared myself enough for the demand that it is to organize this report weekly.


In last week’s report, I spoke about this journey, but today, after having a horrifying nightmare related to the pandemic, I’m going to jump straight into the news.


Is there any good or hopefull news over here or around the world? Well, yes. London is practically managing to zero the numbers of deaths, while in lockdown. Here in Brasil, in the last week was announced that the Butantan Institute created the first vaccine against COVID-19, produced entirely in Brasil - and even though the advertisement of the 100% brasilian immunizer ended up overshadowing the fact that the technology is north american, the truth is that this is a very good news, considering the advances it can bring to the national immunization plan. In addition to all that, last Wednesday (31/03), Anvisa approved the emergencial use of Janssen’s vaccine (Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical), against the new coronavirus. It is the first single-dose vaccine approved in Brasil.


But somehow, that’s it. I know you’re all probably tired of reading me saying that the whole situation is aggravating and far from ending, but the thing is that, unfortunately, that’s how it actually is.


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the immunization in Europe is unacceptably slow. Around the world, many countries faced difficult moments: Chile, even having a good progress with the vaccination, has only 5% of the ICU beds available; Cuba is testing two national vaccines while experiencing the worst moment of the epidemic on the island, with five times more confirmed cases than in the past year; US federal agency head warns of "imminent catastrophe" in the rise of cases in the U.S.; France speaks of third-wave lockdown; and last weekend the Government of Mexico assumed that the death toll is 60% higher than the official number shows, surpassing even Brasil.



I really understand that this information is difficult to deal with - collecting it to then bring here is really painful for me too. But we need to avoid misinformation and ignorance to get through this moment. As we get information, I hope that in addition to the feelings of frustration and sadness, we can motivate each other to take care of ourselves even more.


It’s not the time for negationism.

WORLD


+ 129

million of people infected

+ 104 

million of cases recovered

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Source:  World do meters.
BRAZIL


+ 12

million of people infected

+ 321

thousand deaths

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Source: CONASS, Conselho Nacional de  Secretários da Saúde.
TOTAL COVID-19 VACCINATION DOSES ADMINISTERED

+ 595

million of people in the world

+ 19

million of people in Brazil

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Source: Our world in data.


VACCINES X MUTATIONS


 During a pandemic, the virus is expected to mutate as it is transmitted. And even though we are following the progress of the immunization, we need to remember: the expansion of the pandemic remains uncontrolled, which, unfortunately, facilitates the emergence of new variants. Here in Brazil, for example, the P.1 variant, appeared in late 2020 in Manaus, has already been identified in 17 states. Regarding the monitoring of new strains, researchers state that four warning signs are important: 1) hospitalization outbreak; 2) evidence of reinfection; 3) changes in symptoms and severity of the disease; and 4) changes in the most infected age groups, affecting even babies.



And how’s the purchase of vaccines around the world? The latest news that horrified me was that  wealthy countries are 'blocking' vaccine production plans in developing nations. Yes, there is never a limit to being disappointed. Oh, and another bizarre thing that has come up is that alleged vaccines and vaccination certificates against COVID-19 are sold on the deep web, so please be careful there.

But other than that, vaccine testing in children has also started. Pharmacists like Pfizer, Janssen and Moderna are looking for candidates from six months onwards for the trials. Although the disease affects little children, they can act as a reservoir for the virus.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, no less than 2,700 clinical trials of experimental treatments against COVID-19 have been registered around the world, and there is some interesting news that may arise as an oral antiviral, but anyway, everything is still being studied.

NOW, BRASIL:



Everything I wanted was to give you different news, but March was a deadly month to Brasil. On foreign news, we are a threat to global health, and without a defined strategy to reverse this situation. And yes, another record of daily deaths was reached: yesterday (31/03) there were 3,869 deaths in 24 hours.

With news all over the world about the alarming situation of the hospitals, the situation gets worse every day: while companies distribute “covid kits” - set of drugs for early treatment and without proven efficacy -, doctors and healthcare organizations are asking for “incubation kits” and oxygen.
According to experts, this situation can be as serious and deadly as the scarcity of oxygen that affected Manaus. As we have already discussed here, the Covid-19 Fiocruz Observatory classified the current moment as the “greatest sanitary and hospital collapse in the history of Brasil”. And if you still haven't figured it out, look at this data: 80% of those incubated by COVID-19 died in Brasil in 2020.

In the same progress, the vaccination plan has already started two months ago, and we still have many obstacles to be able to accelerate this process.

While we have totally insufficient emergency aid spreading poverty in the country and a surreal unemployment scenario for Brasilians, the candidates for the next presidential election are in a stingy state, because this is certainly the priority (yes, witg irony). Who cares if neighboring nations enforce border security measures, as we are considered a threat to other countries? Who cares about the increase in death among young people? It's getting really difficult ...


WAIT... A NEW PANDEMIC?


With all this saga of the coronavirus, many studies have been carried out. More recently, WHO has presented some conclusions from investigations on the origin, carried out in China. But everything is still very much in the "probably" zone, and it’s still uncertain how the contamination of the coronavirus started.

Among these conclusions, it was reported that 1) it is possible that the origin was direct contagion from animal to human; 2) that it’s likely that there was an intermediate animal between the infected animal and the man; 3) it is possible that the virus has reached humans through food products; and 4) it is "extremely unlikely" that the virus has hit humans due to an incident in laboratory.

At the same time, four new covid-19-related coronaviruses were discovered in bats in China. Tense, right?


But still speaking of discoveries, recent studies have raised the possibility that camels are the source of the next pandemic. Whaaat? Yes, they may carry Mers-CoV, a new coronavirus that has so far proved to be at least 10 times more deadly than COVID-19. Experts also explain that the threat is greater because of humans: the climate changes induced by society make droughts more frequent, which leads herders to exchange cows and other animals for camels, which can survive weeks without water.

About this, the WHO director of Environment also spoke about how human interventions on the planet influence the emergence of pandemics: “70% of the last epidemic outbreaks started with deforestation”. In an interview, virologist Angélica Campos also reinforces that the destruction of the planet's ecosystems “contributes decisively to the emergence of new diseases”. So, when will we understand the urgency of the climate guidelines?

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Yes, we can't wait to get out of this. Everyone is exhausted from all this, but patience is still very necessary. So, as usual, if you can, stay at home. And when you leave, wear a mask.


P.S. I know that nobody can take any more talking about the pandemic, coronavirus… But when it’s possible, let’s contribute by disseminating important and truthful information?


Report and research: Jéssica Amorim

MJOURNAL - ISSUE 007 - ONE IMAGE HEALS MORE THAN A THOUSAND WORDS.