According to the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), there was a 134% increase in new infections in the last week.
You positive cases for COVID-19 are rising again in Brazil🇧🇷 According to data from the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), there were a 134% increase in the number of new infections in the week that ended on Saturday (12) in relation to the previous week.
Between the 6th and 12th of November, Brazil recorded 61,564 infections by the coronavirus, before 26,304 contaminations between October 30th and November 5th🇧🇷 The number of deaths due to COVID-19 also increased: there were 312 deaths last week, while in the previous period the number was 251, representing an increase of 24.3%🇧🇷
In view of this scenario, the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI), through its Scientific Committee on COVID-19 and Respiratory Infections (CCCIR), released a technical note last Friday (11) advocating urgent measures to reduce the impact of a future scenario of increased hospitalizations and deaths from the disease, such as:
- Increased rates of vaccination against COVID-19mainly in the different booster doses;
Ensuring the acquisition of sufficient vaccine doses to immunize all children aged six months to five years, regardless of the presence of comorbidities;
Quickly promote approval and access to second-generation bivalent vaccines, updated with new variants (currently under review by the National Health Surveillance Agency – Anvisa);
- Use of masks and social distancingavoiding situations of crowding, mainly by the most vulnerable population.
Read more: First preventive medicine for COVID arrives in Brazil
The Brazilian Medical Association, through its Extraordinary Committee for Monitoring COVID-19 (CEM COVID AMB), also issued an alert bulletin for the increase in the number of cases of the new coronavirus in the country, endorsing the SBI technical note.
What’s behind the rise in COVID cases?
According to the SBI, the significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks may be related to the circulation of the new subvariant Omicron BQ.1which is part of the group of new sublines being observed by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of October.
BQ.1 and its sublines, such as BQ.1.1, are descendants of another subline, BA.5, all belonging to the omicron variant. They are the result of mutations in the virus that do not cause major changes in the genetic material. That way, they remain similar to the variant they are part of.
Know more: COVID-19: first vaccine against Omicron variant is approved
The subvariant was already causing an increase in cases in European countries and in the United States. In France, for example, BQ.1 infections already represent 25% of all contaminations; in Belgium, that number is 10%. In the US, the percentage is even higher: 35.3% of coronavirus infections are of sublines BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.
In Brazil, there are already consequences of BQ.1 in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas and São Paulowhere the first death due to the new strain was recorded: a 72-year-old woman who had several comorbidities, according to the São Paulo Municipal Health Department.
Should we be concerned about the new wave?
The degree of severity of BQ is not yet known.1, nor if it has more capacity to escape the protection offered by vaccines currently applied against COVID-19. However, the WHO warns that the strain has demonstrated “a significant growth advantage over other omicron strains circulating in many places, including Europe and the United States” and that it “deserves rigorous monitoring”.
In the world, until the end of October, the prevalence of new underlining was 6%. In the last update, released on Wednesday (9), this percentage rose to 13.4%, with a trend towards the global replacement of underscores that were dominant before (such as BA.5). The data were released by the WHO.
Read more: COVID-19: 4th dose reduces elderly mortality by 78%
Therefore, the guidance for the population is to wear masks, mainly indoors, avoiding crowds and giving preference to open places, with high air circulation. In addition to SBI and AMB, the Health Surveillance Secretariat of the Ministry of Health also published a technical note, on Saturday (12), recommending the use of masks by the population, in addition to increasing genomic surveillance by states and municipalities.
Minister Marcelo Queiroga also made an alert for the population to seek a booster vaccine against COVID-19 in view of the increase in cases🇧🇷 According to the minister, more than 69 million Brazilians have not taken the first booster dose (or third dose), while 32.8 million people who could have already taken the second booster dose (or fourth dose) have not yet been vaccinated.
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