The effect of COVID-19 on Brazilian society

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Karolyna de Oliveira Ramos, a first-year medical student at the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Pernambucana, Brazil. She is affiliated to 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 revealed and brought several new problems in the Brazilian public health system. Thus, due to a lack of organization of the population’s individual needs, the regions are harmed by not having their demands met. This can be seen when analyzing the statistics from the Coronavirus Panel in partnership with OpenDATASUS, in which the number of deaths per region is higher in more vulnerable places, such as the North and Northeast.

In this sense, the health system (SUS) was a basic requirement to deal with all the necessary support to patients with COVID-19, because it was the key point to recognize, treat and cure the unknown disease in individuals, at the same time that it was passing due to structural and social difficulties, such as lack of medication, respirators and even health professionals. In addition, it is important to realize how difficult it was to decide and apply decisions in favor of combating COVID-10, since quarantine and the use of masks were highly criticized and neglected by a large part of the Brazilian population, which may have been a factor intrinsic to the increase in cases and deaths during the first months of the pandemic, in which at the end of the first half of 2020 the rate of deaths per day reached 544.

With that, in Brazil, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was said to be in February 2020, in which, since that day, there have been 36.1 more cases with 631 thousand deaths. However, only 75,322,436 doses were applied, corresponding to 15.41% of the population, which clearly shows that the effect of illnesses and deaths was not enough to encourage the demand for vaccination and the search for safety itself. In addition to the lack of demand for vaccination against COVID-19, vaccination for other diseases itself has suffered a drop in Brazilian territory: according to data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), the rate has dropped from 93.1% to 71 .49% in children, which causes the appearance of diseases not previously seen, such as measles, rubella and even poliomyelitis.

This scenario demonstrates that the COVID-19 pandemic, while guiding the population towards the possibility of epidemiological outbreaks, also provided a departure from social interaction guidelines, vaccines, mainly due to the range of fake news spread during the pandemic period. The pandemic scenario was very important to alert Brazilian (and worldwide) researchers to the possibility of new outbreaks of unknown diseases that could have worse consequences than COVID-19 itself. Therefore, it is essential to understand the need to make the population aware of the high spread of false news, which can even be fatal, as well as the use of ivermectin for the treatment of the coronavirus.

Therefore, the indescribable impacts that COVID-19 brought to the entire Brazilian community are notorious and how important this was to understand the fragility of a health system in a country with more than 100 million inhabitants.

About the author

Karolyna de Oliveira Ramos is a first-year medical student at the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Pernambucana, Brazil. She serves as Local Vice President for Internal Affairs (LVPI) at IFMSA, as well as a Research Fellow at the Laboratory of Immunology and Pathology (LIPa). She works in extension projects in favor of a more humanized and social medicine, in addition to understanding the need to build a doctor with technical knowledge, but also practical and human. Finally, Karolyna is a young leader with a vision to make a difference in her community (and the world) through medicine and people-to-people contact.

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