Brazil: Death toll from coronavirus up 20% in one day

Some states and cities have implemented selective lockdown measures

Published in 08/04/2020 - 11:58 By Jonas Valente - Brasília

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Brazil has reached 667, as per the latest official figures released Tuesday (Apr. 7). The figure is up 20 percent from the day before, when the amount stood at 553.

Data also show that 173 people who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 were discharged from their beds or the intensive care unit in the last 24 hours. This is the first time the number of recovered patients is published.

Social distancing

In his daily press conference Tuesday (7), joined by experts from a number of fields in the government, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta argued for new recommendations, which include selective lockdown measures in case certain conditions are observed. He said such recommendations were requested by state governors, after which the ministry offered a set of criteria.

“We’re not talking about reopening everything. If I have half of beds available, it’s reasonable to have life start going back to normal. We can’t have agglomerations, and think that everywhere is the same. But, of course, in certain situations, places, depending on the epidemiological context, managers may establish total lockdown,” said Wanderson de Oliveira, the government’s secretary for health surveillance.

Some states and municipalities were mentioned as examples of locations where measures are loosening up, like the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the governor ordered businesses to resume activities in 30 municipalities with no cases of the coronavirus. In the state, 91 percent of cases are in Rio’s metropolitan area. In Minas Gerais, 150 municipalities have loosened social distancing rules.

Medications

Health officials unveiled a protocol on drugs and methods to treat COVID-19. According to Denizar Vianna, the ministry’s secretary for science and technology, nine clinical tests are being conducted right not, involving 100 research centers.

Mandetta added that hydroxychloroquine may be adopted in medium to severe cases, or even other situations, if the doctor sees fit. Prophylactic use, however, will not be allowed, while problems linked to the administration of this drug are being assessed.

Since hydroxychloroquine may cause complications, Denizar Vianna said, it would be best for patients hospitalized, where there is more control over side effects.

“What worries us is the potential to generate irregular heartbeat. This drug may lengthen one of the electric phases and bring about an environment for arrhythmia that may be fatal,” Vianna pointed out.

Connected care stations

Mandetta also reported that the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications will connect the over 15 thousand health care stations across the country.

“We always dreamed of having the whole network connected. The next step is to gather data in real time,” he said.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Aline Leal / Nira Foster

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