March 30, 2023

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The wave of Covid in China is a warning for Brazil and the world – 12/31/2022 – Equilíbrio e Saúde

The An explosion of new cases in China Control measures known as “Covid Zero” The withdrawal by the government raises concerns for Brazil and the world.

According to experts, the same situation continues to be observed in others Epidemic waves: high Virus transmission rate and the background for the generation of mutations and with them, New variations A potential concern.

A recurring situation is a warning The epidemic is not over yetReinforce.

As a result, countries like the United States and the European Union have already announced A negative covid test is required for all travelers from China From January.

Flávio Fonseca, a virologist at UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and CT Vacinas (Vaccine Technology Center, attached to the Central Government of Minas Gerais), risk A new variant appears Global spread is more likely in Asian country.

“This is a real fear, because the conditions are certainly favorable for the emergence of a new variant”, he explains. “As the virus tries to replicate itself, new variants emerge through replication, and a more aggressive form may emerge in susceptible populations, we just don’t know yet.”

In a country with low vaccine coverage and Official data on infections and nebulous deathsIt is difficult to even know the true dimension of the new wave.

Fernando Spilgi, virologist coordinator of Rede Corona-ómica BR, emphasizes the link with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information. Retracing the steps revealed a problem As for testability, some data indicate There could be 37 million new infections in the country per day and More than 5,000 Daily deaths.

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However, in official figures, the Chinese government released 22nd and fewer than 4,000 cases Lowered the official death toll Last week, 5,241 people died, up from 5,242. However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 31,000 deaths have been reported in the country since the start of the epidemic till last November 29.

“In large population groups like China, it’s very difficult to manage the population. Now, that’s taken back [das medidas]”We see that the way the government pursues cases is very different, even for similar metros,” he says.

The discrepancy between official numbers and those recorded by independent organizations is due to a recent change in the criteria for classifying deaths from Covid-19 in China, which only consider those related to respiratory problems directly related to the virus.

According to the Chinese government, the change occurred Omicron It is less aggressive in the lower respiratory tract (lungs and trachea), causing infection mainly in the upper respiratory tract. Flu-like symptoms.

For cases, China only takes into account positive results from RT-PCR tests, which look for the genetic material of the virus in the body, and many people carry out antigen tests at home, which are not officially reported.

Vaccination coverage of the population is a poor factor, with only two-thirds of adults over 60 being vaccinated with a booster dose. The vaccines used in China are mainly Coronavac, from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, and Sinopharm, both of which are inactivated viruses that create less protection against infection.

“Now 67% are vaccinated with a booster, albeit two doses [esquema primário] exceeded 89%, but those are low-dose vaccines, mainly to prevent variants, so it may be important for new global outbreaks,” says Spilky.

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For this reason, many The Chinese now travel to Macau To get vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna using RNA technology.

“China invested in a prolonged and aggressive lockdown policy instead of more vaccination. This delayed, but did not prevent, the wave of Covid, which is now coming with great intensity and may be reflected in other parts of the world”, says Fonseka.

For Raquel Stucchi, an epidemiologist and researcher at Unicomb, the policy of using only inactivated virus vaccines created less immunity in the population. Many studies indicate that Multivalent vaccine Or a so-called vaccine combination (such as an RNA vaccine booster for people who have received two doses of inactivated vaccines) produces strong and long-lasting immunity.

According to him, the high number of cases will lead to a shortage of medical supplies in the world. “We know that China is a pharmaceutical powerhouse as a major producer of raw materials for drugs, vaccines and tests, so if they need more for domestic consumption, they can restrict exports to other countries,” he says.

Despite criticism of China’s Covid-zero planning, other experts point out that the national strategy has made it possible to manage the pandemic better than other parts of the world over the past three years.

For political scientist and researcher at USP Lorena Barberia, The Change in government leadership It may decentralize control measures, but not completely abandon them.

“It is important to contextualize that for three years they maintained a consistency in contact tracing, isolation and testing. It was very different from the policy of Western countries, and now, in a different epidemiological situation, they understood that change was necessary in the criteria,” he says, adding that the Asian giant’s Media coverage is also biased.

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“Popularly, the African continent has the same number of people, and there is not much transparency in data from different countries, not to mention vaccination disparity. The concern about new variants emerging is real, but there is very little knowledge of how the epidemic has progressed there.”