A survey carried out by CNN, this Wednesday (26), together with the State Health Departments, showed that at least six Brazilian states and the Federal District have more than 80% of ICU beds occupied.
They are Espírito Santo (80.99%), Pernambuco (81%), Goiás (84.57%), Mato Grosso (84.72%), Rondônia (85.50%), Mato Grosso do Sul (87%) . The Federal District has 100% of Intensive Care beds occupied.
In addition, the state of Piauí records, until the last update, exactly 80%. The states of Amazonas (73.47%), Tocantins (76%) and Rio Grande do Sul (78.6%) also draw attention due to their high occupancy rates.
In an interview with CNN, Sanitary doctor and professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), Walter Cintra, explains that these data are explained by two important factors: people who did not complete the vaccination schedule against Covid-19 and the lower availability of beds, because many were disabled. when cases started to drop.
“Obviously, these people are vulnerable, exposed to contaminating themselves, and worse, contaminating others”, he pointed out.
The specialist considers the situation in the Federal District to be critical, where 100% of the ICU beds in the public network are already occupied.
“This means that there are people in line waiting to get in, and most likely there are units operating with extra beds”, he commented.
He adds that “increasing the supply of beds will not control the pandemic”. For Walter Cintra, if cases continue to grow, a widespread collapse of the health system could occur.
Therefore, the health doctor highlights that the only possible solutions are vaccination against Covid-19, social isolation when possible and the use of masks, for example.
Fiocruz points to an increase in the occupancy of ICU beds in the country
In a technical note from the Covid-19 Observatory of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), researchers classified the current moment as a ‘considerable worsening’ of the scenario. According to the publication, there was an increase in the occupancy rates of intensive care beds in 12 states in the country.
Fiocruz also released data referring to capitals. Of the 25 that disclosed their occupancy rates, nine are in the critical alert zone: Porto Velho (89%), Rio Branco (80%), Macapá (82%), Fortaleza (93%), Natal (89%), Belo Horizonte (95%), Rio de Janeiro (98%), Cuiabá (89%) and Brasília (98%). The others are in the intermediate alert zone.
According to the researchers who signed the note, despite the worsening of the scenario, the document highlights that it is no longer serious because of the vaccination stage already reached across the country.
“It cannot be ignored that the situation is getting worse, although it is clear that the scenario with vaccination is very different from that observed in earlier, more critical moments of the pandemic, when there were many more beds. People who have already received the booster dose are less susceptible to these hospitalizations, although serious comorbidities or advanced age can leave them vulnerable”, says an excerpt from the document.
Despite stressing the importance of vaccination, Fiocruz highlighted that the effects of the Ômicron variant cannot be minimized and cited that the high transmissibility rate of the variant can overwhelm health systems.
The foundation also highlights that there is a proportion of the population that has not yet received the booster vaccine against Covid-19 and another portion that has not yet received any dose of the immunizer.
Another point highlighted was the increase in agglomerations due to the summer vacation period in Brazil, combined with the “negligence with the use of good quality masks, as well as the disrespect for the need for isolation for an adequate time in the event or suspected occurrence of the infection”.
The entity once again affirmed that it is essential to advance vaccination in the country, and effectively stipulate the “strengthening of the mandatory use of masks and vaccination passports in public places, and launch campaigns to guide the population about self-isolation at the appearance of symptoms, even avoiding intra-household transmission”.
Context of Rio de Janeiro
In less than a week, the number of municipalities in Rio de Janeiro without vacancies in intensive care beds tripled. Currently, seven cities are at 100% occupancy. On January 20, there were only two in this situation.
According to data from the State Department of Health (SES), Barra do Piraí, Bom Jardim, Maricá, Miracema, Quissamã, Saquarema and Teresópolis face this reality. And there are two other municipalities whose occupancy rate is above 90%: Itaboraí (95%), Bom Jesus do Itabapoana (92%).
There are also five other cities without vacancies even for infirmary beds, whose occupancy rates are at 100%. They are: Valença, Teresópolis, Rio das Ostras and Nova Iguaçu and Cachoeiras de Macacu.
Rise in the number of deaths
The high percentages of occupied ICU beds were recorded a day after Brazil recorded 487 deaths from Covid-19. The data released by Conass (National Council of Health Secretaries), this Tuesday (25), was the first to exceed 400 in more than two months.
The last time the country reached this level was on November 13, when 731 deaths from Covid-19 were recorded.
According to the figures, the moving average of daily infections by the disease for the last seven days stands at 157,060. This is the eighth consecutive record and represents the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. The average increase has been occurring since January 2.
“It is not worth underestimating the Omicron variant”
The increase in coronavirus infections and bed occupancy rates is driven by the consolidation of the Ômicron variant in the country.
The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom, recently stated that “the pandemic is far from over”, given the current impacts that the strain has had around the world.
In an interview with CNN, the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Jarbas Barbosa, shared the same view and said that it is not worth underestimating Ômicron, as it has generated hospitalizations and deaths, albeit on a smaller scale than the other variants.
“The Ômicron is less lethal than the other variants, but let’s remember that there are still people without completing the vaccination schedule, and these people are at greater risk”, added the doctor.
According to Barbosa, in addition to the lack of vaccination in part of the populations, the new strain is more transmissible, which, even if it is not as significant in the number of serious cases and deaths proportionally in relation to the others, will cause impacts due to the large amount of contagion. .
“It is important to realize that we have an increase in the number of cases, so all countries were advised to carefully review their contingency plans, expand ICU capacity and monitor the occupancy of hospital beds to avoid an overload”, he declared.
“[A Ômicron] is causing deaths, producing serious cases, albeit in a smaller proportion than the other variants. It is necessary to take it very seriously so as not to turn it into problems for health systems”, he added.
* Vinícius Tadeu of CNN contributed to this report
Reference: CNN Brasil