A Threat to Humanity: COVID-19 in Brazil

A Threat to Humanity: COVID-19 in Brazil

The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines contrasts with World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘s top officials saying that Brazil’s epidemic could spread to other countries. “We think we’re through this. We’re not,” said Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, during an online briefing. “Countries are going to lurch back into third and fourth surges if we’re not careful.  Now is not the time for Brazil, or anywhere else for that matter, to be relaxing,” Ryan added. “The arrival of vaccines is a moment of great hope, but it is also potentially a moment where we lose concentration.” In the same tone, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the epidemic in Brazil as “very, very concerning” and warned of a possible regional spillover. “If Brazil is not serious, then it will continue to affect all the neighborhood there and beyond,” he said.  Please see the article here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who/who-warns-against-relaxing-pandemic-fight-worries-about-brazil-idUSKBN2AX1ZG

Concerns regarding Brazil and COVID-19 are not new.  The country has been and continues to be the most infected one in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Last week the government reported 11.603.535 cases and 282.127 deaths, holding half of the COVID-19 continental numbers into its own soil, according to the monitoring of the disease by Johns Hopkins University.  While in 2020, the victims were mainly the poor in the cities, workers in activities considered essential, and some less developed regions of the country, such as the Northeast and the Amazonas state’s capital, Manaus.  Now the so-called “second wave,” which has had explosive growth since January, is attacking all of Brazil in a generalized way.  There is an unexpected intensity in some of the wealthiest and least affected regions last year, such as the South and the country’s Central West.  It is not strange that those regions are now affected by the pandemic.  Their adherence to the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro provoked a denial of the seriousness of the pandemic and prevention measures, such as isolation, physical distancing, and masks. Besides, medications indicated for other diseases such as chloroquine (malaria), ivermectin (parasites), and antibiotics were popular. 

What is new from the southern nation is that it also produces new strains of the said disease. The new variants of the coronavirus, one of which comes from Amazonas, are more contagious and aggressive.  At least three variants have emerged and are noteworthy: P1 (from Manaus), P2 (from Rio de Janeiro), and now N9. The first is already internationally classified as a “variant of concern” (Variant of Concern or VOC, in the acronym in English). This is because research indicates that it is highly transmissible and could trigger more severe cases.  While several countries have adopted restrictive measures to curb new infection waves, Brazil continues to suffer from applying basic strategies. “Our population has not adequately adhered to the masks and social distance. And this happened due to the lack of clarity of the federal government and the confusion of heterogeneous rules imposed by the states”, says Flávio Guimarães da Fonseca, president of the Brazilian Society of Virology (SBV).  Besides, there is no adequate monitoring of the spread of new strains.  The Japanese government alerted Brazilian authorities that they received travelers from the Latin American nation contaminated by the P1 variant of the virus. …See the link: https://saude.abril.com.br/medicina/brasil-um-possivel-celeiro-de-novas-variantes-do-coronavirus/

The Congregational Church in Brazil is one of Global Ministries’ longstanding Partners in the country.  Its President, Reverend Rogelio Renner, reported that the internal political war and ideological pitfalls are the causes of the crisis. “Some social sectors, installed in power, rule in our country regardless of the cost of our own destruction.” He also mentioned how pastoral families have recovered from COVID-19, but other members of the church succumbed to the pandemic.  The church created a newsletter to include the families facing the disease for prayer concerns.   Several pastors in different cities are praying in front of hospitals for doctors, nurses, and hospitalized people.  They also develop campaigns to assist the hospitals, as they are collapsing.  In the past few days, many churches have asked the Central Church for financial support. Many families have lost their jobs, people have died, and their local livelihood has been compromised.  Many churches helped families with basic food baskets, clothes, etc. Many pastors are tired, fighting bravely, on the front line as heroes, visiting, comforting, and supporting various fronts.

Please, continue your support to our Partners in Brazil as they face this pandemic.  Pray for the pastors and leaders as they accompany their churches amid this situation. Let’s join our prophetic and pastoral voice to a problem that could escalate into a threat to other countries and humanity as well.