Deaths from Covid fall 83.2% in the 1st semester; experts attribute decline to vaccination

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The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Brazil fell by 83.2% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. A survey carried out by CNN Agency points out that 311,890 people died from the disease in the first six months of 2021. In the same period in 2022, there were 52,360.

For comparison purposes, in the first six months of 2020 the country had 59,594 deaths from the disease. However, that year, the first death by Covid in Brazil occurred on March 12.

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The drop in the number of deaths this semester can be explained by the increase in the number of people vaccinated throughout the second half of 2021 and the first six months of this year.

For Alexandre Naime Barbosa, vice president of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases and professor at Unesp, “vaccination was the only thing that managed to get Brazil out of the health collapse at the beginning of 2021”.

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THE CNN he said that the reduction in deaths was happening “as vaccination progressed in different age groups”.

Infectologist Robson Reis, professor at the Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health (EBMSP), considers that vaccines were important to reduce pressure on the health system.

To date, 83.89% of the eligible population received the first dose of the vaccine and 78.20% received the second dose. With regard to the third dose, the number is still not considered adequate, according to experts consulted by the CNN .

In the latest survey, updated on June 30, less than half of eligible Brazilians (99,696,654 people) for the third dose received the immunizer. The rate is at 46.41%.

The rate of the fourth dose, or extra booster, recommended by the Ministry of Health for people over 40 years of age, is even lower: 6.6% of the 14,181,002 eligible individuals received the immunizer.

The total doses applied in Brazil, until July 1st, is 452 million. In June 2021, the accumulated was 100 million.

Naime Barbosa assesses that, even with the arrival of Ômicron, at the end of 2021, adherence to booster doses kept the moving averages of deaths stable at the beginning of 2022.

Even with contamination by the disease increasing since May this year, as well as the number of deaths, which has grown in recent weeks, vaccination alone could not prevent the advance of Covid. However, total deaths evolve at a slower rate than new infections. From May to June, the number of deaths from Covid increased by 49%. As for contamination, on June 22, the country had 171% more cases than a month ago.

Despite considering the progress in cases as “significant”, the EBMSP infectologist cites underreporting. Reis points out that the virus has not stopped circulating and that several factors contribute to the increase in infections and deaths from the disease, including the winter period.

“With the advent of self-tests, these numbers are underreported. Due to this period of cold weather, with greater agglomeration of people, it ends up favoring the increase in transmission”, said Reis.

Both experts also warn of the low rate of people with the so-called complete vaccination schedule, in addition to the flexibility in the use of mask in closed places and lack of a plan of attention to the immunosuppressed and people with some comorbidity).

Reis highlights that the large number of subvariants of Ômicron can provide an increase in transmissibility, but with a reduction in the potential for lethality. “Omicron and its subvariants have some mutations that make the virus less lethal. But they end up escaping the immunity created by vaccines and, as a result, people end up contracting the disease,” he says.

The EBMSP professor highlights that, even so, vaccination, especially the booster dose, remains essential to guarantee immunity, “which is lost over time”.

Another group affected by the coronavirus are children who cannot yet receive the vaccine (under 5 years old). A survey by Observa Infância, in partnership with Fiocruz, showed that two children in this age group die a day in Brazil as a result of Covid-19.

In the assessment of the SBI member, there needs to be a change in the treatment of the disease with a specific strategy for people at greater risk, including urgency from public health agencies to accelerate the immunization process in children.

The pharmaceutical Pfizer reported that it is already preparing the documentation to request the approval of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) for the release of the vaccine against Covid-19 for babies over 6 months to children aged 5 years.

In early June, Anvisa asked the Butantan Institute for more data on the application of the Coronavac vaccine in children aged 3 to 5 years.

Cases and deaths by region

According to data from the state health departments, the region that accumulates the most cases and deaths from Covid is the Southeast. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, together, have 321,685 victims of the disease since the beginning of the pandemic. With regard to infections, there are 12,807,691 records.

The second region with the most deaths from Covid is the Northeast with 129,576. Close behind is the South, with 105,830, the Midwest, with 63,977 and the North, with 50,348.

In terms of number of cases, behind the Southeast, the South accumulates 6,964,562 records, followed by the Northeast (6,415,802), the Midwest (3,617,102) and the North (2,552,861).

Looking at the incidence of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the South leads with 23,233.8 infections per 100,000 people. In terms of the mortality rate per 100,000 people, the Midwest is the place with the highest number: 392.6.

For Naime Barbosa, half of the protection comes from the vaccine, but it is necessary to discuss additional forms of protection.

“The low rate of people vaccinated with the fourth dose means lighting a match inside a gas tank. There needs to be a massive vaccination campaign encouraging the booster dose, the use of a mask in closed places and a specific strategy for the treatment of immunosuppressed people”, he evaluated.

According to Reis, the behavior of the population is decisive for the management of the pandemic. “If the population doesn’t adhere to the booster dose, we should stay on this wave thing [da doença]”, ends.

Source: CNN Brasil

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