For the first time since the start of the weekly publication of a Covid-19 risk map by the State Department of Health (SES), in July 2020, all municipalities in Rio
They have a low risk of disease transmission (yellow flag). In addition, at the end of September, more than half of the cities of Rio de Janeiro had no deaths due to the Corona virus. And in the capital, which has historically been responsible for most cases and deaths in the state, the authorities estimate that the situation of the epidemic is “under control”, which is unprecedented since the disease arrived in the city.
Indeed, indicators have improved nearly 20 months after the outbreak of the epidemic and 67,342 deaths. Forty-eight of the state’s 92 cities did not record deaths from the disease from September 19-25, which corresponds to the 38th epidemiological week, as evidenced by figures from the SES panel. In addition, during the month between weeks 34 and 38 (from August 22 to September 25), 16 municipalities were free of coronavirus deaths.
According to the state’s 52 risk map, yesterday Rio had the “best epidemiological assessment” since the first version of the study: a 40% drop in new admissions for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SRAG) between the 37 epidemic weeks (September 12 to September 18). ) and 39 (from September 26 to October 2). During this period, there was also a 39% decrease in the number of deaths. The setback, which lasted about two weeks for the analysis of indicators, is due to possible delays in updating the data.
In the assessment of the Secretary of State for Health, Alexander Shep, the positive numbers are due to the effect of vaccination. Between epidemiological week 37 and 39, more than two million doses of vaccines were applied in the state. “It is important to clarify that our study does not only assess hospital admissions and deaths,” the secretary reported.
DC on the same track. The number of new hospitalizations for SRAG has fallen by 65% in public facilities in the past two months, according to the city’s Epidemiological Bulletin 41. The continued decline – which is still seen in indicators such as confirmed cases, deaths and care in the public network – prompted the municipal health secretary, Daniel Sorans, to say yesterday that “for the first time in the entire pandemic, the situation is under control” in the municipality.
“It is the first time since the beginning of the epidemic that we can say that we have a situation under control. We have a decline in indicators that has lasted for seven weeks. And the numbers of cases and hospitalizations are declining more and more,” he said.
All of the city’s 33 administrative districts are tracking a “moderate” transmission risk rating, the lowest of the three rating levels, for the fourth week in a row. Mayor Eduardo Paes noted that the current outlook is the best one can have during the pandemic.
“Less than that, just at the end of the pandemic. We are looking forward to the moment when we won’t need to reveal this map, but it will take some time,” he said.
Experts support the assessment that the epidemiological scenario in Rio has improved significantly. But for epidemiologist Diego Xavier of Viecruz, the city must wait until the decline in indicators naturally stops when it reaches a minimum, to say the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Rio is under control.
“We will only get the epidemic under control when we reach an endemic stage. In other words, the disease will not go away. It will continue to occur at an acceptable base level, and then we will have to discuss what is acceptable, and how it makes it clear that a lot of people ‘may’ die in a given period of time'” .
Epidemiologist Leonardo Bastos, one of the developers of InfoGripe Bulletin, who is also from Fiocruz, said the fact that many municipalities in Rio had not recorded deaths due to Covid-19 within a week was due to vaccination.
He estimates that “with the level of movement of people we are currently seeing, a proportional increase in indicators was expected, which, thanks to vaccination, has not been confirmed.”
Good results are concentrated in the municipalities at home. Some have already begun to divert beds and lay off resources that were intended to support the demand generated by the pandemic. Such is the case of Quissamã, in Norte Fluminense, who completed 72 hours Wednesday afternoon without hospitalization for SRAG.
A reference unit for treating Covid-19 in the city, the Mariana Maria de Jesus Hospital once had 17 ICU beds and 20 beds exclusively for clinics to care for people afflicted with the disease, but now it has only ten of each. Unit director, Dr. Francisco Oliveira, attributes the change to various factors.
“What really makes the difference is prevention: mask, distance, plus vaccination, of course,” he says. “Now we’re reaping the benefits of a massive vaccination campaign, and more than that, raising people’s awareness.”
The vaccine also emptied intensive care units and wards in the capital, which yesterday recorded 245 admissions, the lowest number since April 2020, weeks after the outbreak of the epidemic began. With the number of hospitalizations declining, the largest referral unit in treating Covid-19 in Rio state, Ronaldo Gazzola, was transferred to a general hospital at the end of September.
“I think if the beds are really empty, it is better to free them from other diseases. However, it is important to have some kind of real-time monitoring to quickly reassemble the Covid bed, if necessary, to minimize losses,” says Leonardo Bastos.
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