Corona in Brazil's Amazon: Our Elders are dying

The confluence of the brown Amazon with the blue of the Rio Tapajós is the tourist business card of the city of Santarém in the West of the Brazilian state of P

Corona in Brazil's Amazon: Our Elders are dying

The confluence of the brown Amazon with the blue of the Rio Tapajós is the tourist business card of the city of Santarém in the West of the Brazilian state of Pará. The natural spectacle attracts tourists from all over the world, in particular the small town of alter do Chão, where cruise ships dock and the white sand banks in the dark water flashed.

For the inhabitants of the Region, the situation is anything other than idyllic. In the jungle of the metropolis of Santarém, only half of the population has access to clean water. And just four percent of the households are connected to the channel system.

Hygiene without a faucet?

"The epidemic has hit the Amazon in the worst possible conditions," explains the doctor Caetano Scannavino. He lives for more than 30 years in the Region and directs non-government organization "Saúde & Alegria," which translates around Santarém projects in the area of health care, education and sustainable development. "How do you not enforce the Corona arranged in the hygiene measures for a population, the home has once again clean water, let alone a faucet can turn it up?", he asks.

medical transport via helicopter

The situation is dramatic. For the approximately a Million people from the 22 surrounding municipalities, which belong to the catchment area of Santarém, in the city of 49 places on the intensive care station.

The size of the area is enormous. The city of Itaituba (see map) with over 62,000 square kilometres, twice as big as Belgium. The ambulance transport for patients who require treatment in Santarém, is due to the vast distances by helicopter, the government of the Brazilian state of Pará provides.

The state of Pará is representative of the Corona disaster in Brazil. Nearly three million people live there more than four hours from the next available respirator removed. While in the industrial metropolis of São Paulo, on average, a ventilator to 2400 residents, is the ratio in Santarém with one to 20,000.

According to information from the municipality of Santarém from the 3. June, the municipality officially in 1815, confirmed Corona-Infected and 96 deaths. In Para, the number of Infected, according to the Brazilian Ministry of health in 44.774 people, in the whole of Brazil there are already over 600,000 cases.

High Corona-dark figure in Brazil

The Numbers, however, are only meaningful to a limited extent. Because of the lack of infrastructure for clinical trials in Santarém, will be transported to the laboratory results by air in the state capital, Belém. The analysis can take up to two weeks.

"in terms of frequency of hospital admissions, I assume, that there is in the West Parás between 20,000 and 40,000 Corona-Infected," says the virologist João Guilherme Assy from the Department of health in Santarém.

The crowds to a place on the intensive care unit is large and forces the Doctors at the hospital for Improvisation. So patients alternate the use of a ventilator. Many Doctors are missing, because they have been infected by contact with COVID-19-patients.

to make matters worse, only a small part of the population adheres to the source and contact restrictions. In Santarém, the fight against the pandemic will be fought in court.

retail Corona-Lockdown

So the justice ordered the end of may had contact restrictions for a further seven days, after the mayor of Santarém, Nélio Aguiar, had this revoked. The responsible state attorney, was abused in Whatsapp groups, and threatened.

the owner of a Restaurant Juliana Galvão considers this to be irresponsible: "It is unreasonable of the business people, to inveigh against the Lockdown," she says. "Just because the city lives from tourism, we need to set a good example and create trust, so that after the crisis, visitors come out."

The ideological contamination also affects the medical treatment. "I often had to interrupt my work, because someone has made a scandal in order to get the recipe for hydroxy-chloroquine," says the virologist João Guilherme Assy.

The Malaria drug with the active ingredient hydroxychloroquine is recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of health for the treatment of COVID-19. It was part of a WHO-coordinated research with more than 3500 patients in 35 countries. At the end of may, the Tests were suspended due to academic concerns. On 4. In June, the WHO announced, this resume.

"Our Elders die."

The Virus penetrates meanwhile, in the Amazon. Among the areas that are at the mercy of the pandemic, especially unprotected, the reserve Tapajós-Arapiuns. In the protected area with 23,000 inhabitants, Indigenous, collectors and flow of local residents life.

"The government makes it difficult for us to apply for emergency relief", says Auricelia Arapium, spokeswoman for the residents ' Association in the reserve. "There is no Internet, to deliver documents and special support for Indigenous people, whose immune system is especially fragile against the Virus."

The river resident is desperate. "A lot of people here are sick. We see our Elders die. We are in need of help."

author: João Soares (apo)

*The post "Corona in Brazil's Amazon: "Our Elders are dying"" is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle

Date Of Update: 05 June 2020, 06:27