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Despite the decrease in cases and deaths, the possibility of an outbreak of a new Covid virus in Brazil exists

Despite the decrease in cases and deaths, the possibility of an outbreak of a new Covid virus in Brazil exists

New year and carnival parties are a concern. (Photo: Anselmo Cunha/PMPA)

Is Brazil at risk of suffering a new surge in Covid-19 cases? And according to specialists, despite the improvement in the number of cases and deaths in the country, yes. They noted that in addition to the risks posed by the holiday season, there is a scenario of uncertainty due to the omicron variant, vaccination coverage and public health measures.

In this article, you will understand, in 5 reasons, why the situation of the epidemic in the country – and in the world – remains uncertain:

1) new variants

The appearance of omicron – a variant identified at the end of November in South Africa, but which was already widespread in Europe and was already detected in Brazil – has increased uncertainty about the future of the epidemic, even in countries that have already achieved high vaccination coverage.

This is because, among other points, everything remains unknown about the ability of the micron to circumvent vaccine protection. A study in South Africa itself indicated a decrease in the ability of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, to protect against hospitalization in cases of covid-induced variant. However, the level of protection remained at 70%.

“This is the big challenge, the big question, and a particular fear for those working with this: that variants that are incompatible with vaccine protection emerge, that is, evasion of vaccine protection,” says Mauricio Barreto, Data Integration Coordinator. Center and Knowledge for Health (Cidacs) of Vuecruz Bahia and Professor Emeritus of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA).

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2) Incomplete vaccination coverage

Vaccination is progressing rapidly in Brazil – as of December 16, about 66% of the population is fully vaccinated – but rates remain uneven and growing at different speeds between states.

Whereas the state of São Paulo, for example, has nearly 78% of the population with two doses of the vaccine (the highest rate in the country), Amapá has only 39.14% of the population fully immunized—a rate similar to that of Roraima (39 ), 68%), the lowest in Brazil. Maranhão and Acre have not yet reached 50% vaccination coverage with two doses.

Even first-dose rates are low in some states: in Roraima, for example, only 55% of the population has received a dose of the vaccine, the lowest in the state, and in São Paulo, the rate is 82%, the highest.

3) Vaccines: prevention of infection, disease and possible need for revaccination

The fact that Covid vaccines have less protection from infection than serious cases is another reason for the risk of a new outbreak of the disease – although there are fewer serious cases than in previous “waves”, points out Mauricio Barreto, of Vuecruz Bahia.

“If I ask, could there be an outbreak?” he can. Now, could he have as many extreme forms as before? I do not think so. Even in the event of an outbreak, we will be more protected from severe forms, considering that part of the Brazilian people already have vaccines, two doses, and some are already receiving the third dose, especially the elderly. This forms a chain of protection against disease, severe forms,” he explains.

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4) Public health measures and end-of-year parties

Experts point out that the factor of “end-of-year parties”, as well as the arrival of summer holidays and carnival, also brings the risk of a new outbreak of the disease, due to population gatherings. More than 100 Brazilian cities have already canceled their New Year’s parties, and at least 70 cities will not participate in the carnival.

“This is a risk. For example, cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, which attract many people from other places where they do not have high vaccination coverage, are also likely to attract people who are not immunized.” Federal of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA).

5) Trends in the United States

For Airton Stein, of the UFCSPA, the best way to analyze the situation in each region is the number of new cases and whether there is a greater tendency to increase.

“However, this is still happening [um] The number of new cases and there is a decrease in the performance of diagnostic tests in respiratory symptoms. So, this is the main warning to residents,” Stein warns.

He stressed that “there is a need to check the epidemic curve in each region of the country and check the trend of new cases (infection),” because this information “is what should determine local health policies regarding the use of masks in open environments.”