Third wave of COVID-19: public policy challenges

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Maria L. C. Meurer, a 4th year medical student of UNINGÁ and a member of IFMSA Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The Covid-19 pandemic has been underway for more than a year, resulting in huge human and economic losses, some countries continue with catastrophic losses and an emergency situation, while others already start life normally as it was before the pandemic after success immunizations and case control. After this entire different world scenario and the 3rd wave of Covid-19, what has really changed?

Viruses change through mutations, generating variants that can cause increased transmissibility or severity of the disease, as well as reduced vaccine efficacy. Generally speaking, the adoption of measures such as the use of masks, social detachment and the use of alcohol gel for hand hygiene were adopted by a wide range of countries, however, both in the beginning of the pandemic and today we still witness refusal to take simple hygiene measures, because disbelief in science or even disbelief in the very existence of the pandemic.

It is important to highlight the plasticity of governmental measures to deal with the pandemic and to try to control the overcrowding of hospitals, such as the use of improvised ICUs, interested satellite hospitals and an increase in the number of beds, however, even with these measures, overcrowding occurred. The use of masks to try to reduce the spread of the virus is a low-cost non-pharmaceutical intervention for the population, since as facial tissue masks were even well adhered to by the population, the problem is that not everyone uses it correctly.

In addition, with the advancement of vaccination in several countries, new problems arise, such as a reduced willingness to take the vaccine. This fact often occurs due to false information conveyed on social networks, diminished credibility of the pandemic, people who believe that they will not acquire the disease and possible associated effects. Proof of this is the study developed by Jagdish Khubchandani, in the United States, which shows that only 52% of the study volunteers would like to be vaccinated while 7% would definitely not like to be vaccinated. It is likely that with the example of countries that have achieved success in vaccination, as Israel, and also with a major mobilization and campaign for vaccination like in the United States, more people will have more confidence in science.

Bibliography

• CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021? Disponível em: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html&gt;. Acesso em: 24 abr. 2021.

• Khubchandani J, Sharma S, Price JH, Wiblishauser MJ, Sharma M, Webb FJ. COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy in the United States: A Rapid National Assessment. J Community Health. 2021 Apr;46(2):270-277. doi: 10.1007/s10900-020-00958-x. Epub 2021 Jan 3. PMID: 33389421; PMCID: PMC7778842.

About the author

Maria L. C. Meurer is a 4th year medical student of UNINGÁ and a member of IFMSA Brazil. She is interested in human rights and medicine and her hobbies include reading and participating in extension activities from her university. Fernando V. Sanches is a 1st year medical student of UNICESUMAR. He is interested in contribute to education and medicine and his hobbies are practicing physical activities and reading.

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