To what extent has the pandemic accentuated the already abysmal inequalities in Brazil?
Inequalities have increased in unimaginable ways. By the time the pandemic arrived, there were already a huge number of other problems in our country. This is why we are talking about syndemics. Investments in public health had been frozen for several years. But the problem stems above all from the fact that the public authorities do practically nothing to reduce socio-economic inequalities. Unemployment continues to rise and many poor people have to expose themselves to the virus in order to survive. Hunger continues to gain ground in the country. And the black population is often the most vulnerable. The pandemic is a time bomb. If vaccination does not accelerate and if there is no better coordination of health and social assistance policies, there will still be many deaths. Deaths that could have been avoided.
Do you think it would have been possible to prevent Brazil from reaching half a million deaths from covid-19?
Certainly. Brazil has shown in the past its ability to implement mass vaccination, but the vaccines have arrived late and in a dribble. Scientific evidence is constantly being questioned, such as wearing a mask lately. And we could also have avoided many deaths with more prevention, primary health care that would have made it possible to identify the most vulnerable people, with co-morbidities. In our society weakened by the pandemic, at no time has there been an authority capable of showing direction. Instead, the political debate is more and more polarized and favors the dissemination of false information, it is a real threat for the country.
What consequences can we fear in the long term?
This virus can cause a series of long-term problems with neurological, respiratory or muscle damage. Not to mention mental disorders. This will pose huge public health challenges in the future. And more generally, we are witnessing in Brazil a setback in terms of social gains, with a series of fundamental rights violated, such as the simple right to life.
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