For the medical workers, it’s frantic 36-hour shifts. For the gravediggers, it’s moving the tons of dirt required to create 20,000 more graves.
For the dead, it’s the “vertical” burial, with bodies stacked atop each other in the increasingly crowded cemeteries of Manaus, Brazil.
This is the heartbreak of a city whose health care system has collapsed. And it isn’t the first time — in less than a year, this isolated city at the core of the Brazilian rainforest is witnessing its second coronavirus wave, a shock to the many who thought its first wave was so widespread that herd immunity must be the result.
Manaus is the capital and largest city in the state of Amazonas. It has over 30 public and private hospitals, catering to numerous remote indigenous and small communities around the area. But the logistics of getting there — and supplying those hospitals — can be complicated. With road connections limited, most approaches to the city are by air or river.
But in September 2020, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), a highly regarded Brazilian research institute for public health, recommended that the city impose movement and business restrictions. Manaus was beginning to experience a second wave of the disease, it said. But the city did not impose one.
“We gave 13 alerts, and a very alarming one in mid-December, saying that the situation was getting very serious. Everyone was making fun of the studies and warnings, especially the President Jair Bolsonaro,” says Jesem Orellana, researcher at Fiocruz.
Orellana adds that both the state and federal government used the theory of herd immunity to back up their relaxed measures. “They all talked about herd immunity, and an environment was created for this discourse to crystallize, and the measures to relax. That feeling may have been responsible for this relaxation of people’s behavior.”
“We are paying the price for this disobedience, these protests from the end of last year. A lot of people need to be held accountable for this,” said Almeida, who took office…
Go to the news source: How Manaus, Brazil missed warning after warning until its health system collapse…