Prevention measures will still be needed

Everything indicates that, despite the advance of vaccination and recent setbacks in rates of new cases and deaths by covid-19, Brazilians will need to maintain some prevention measures to avoid further contamination leaps for at least part of next year.

Among the most optimistic, epidemiologist Pedro Hallal believes that it may be possible to dispense with the use of masks between the end of this year and the beginning of the next:— The removal of the masks will take place between November 2021 and February 2022, if everything remains the same.

There are colleagues who prefer to be more cautious. Specialist in Public Health at Fiocruz, Diego Ricardo Xavier recalls that other countries, even with much more advanced immunization, still could not completely disregard prevention actions.

— The use of a mask and, mainly, the habit of avoiding places of agglomeration should persist even with the increase in vaccination. In Europe and Asia, even with accelerated immunization, we see the adoption of restrictive measures.

Here, it doesn’t have to be different – observes Xavier.For Professor of Epidemiology at UFCSPA Lucia Pellanda, there is still no way to predict the waiver of non-pharmacological measures of protection against covid-19:

– There was an exaggerated optimism that only vaccine alone will solve. It does not solve. It has to be vaccine and care, and some care maybe we will have to keep it for a long time.How much time? For the epidemiologist Ricardo Kuchenbecker, the answer will depend on two fundamental items:

— Relaxation in the use of masks depends on two factors: vaccination coverage and low rates of new infections. Both interdependent.A crisis never seen before. An unscheduled recovery. In fact, 2020 was a difficult year that will bring many consequences to 2021.

The biggest sanitary challenge of recent times, in Brazil, was accompanied by political and ideological disputes. The population suffers, with a lack of information and guidance from leaders. The economy has also not created antibodies to the new coronavirus.
Here, the deepest recession is predicted in at least 120 years.

The perspectives for the economic and political scenario and its effects on the healthcare chain were debated during the Welcome Saúde 2021. Leaders from hospitals, laboratories, operators, sector entities, government and industry were face to face, exposing the main concerns to the entire community. to the next year.

The vaccination rate demonstrates the health literacy of the Portuguese. But we can do more and better. And the school is the ideal place to start a more advanced type of training in this area from an early age.

Approaching 2022, Portugal must learn the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the health sector.

The first lesson is the importance of health education and the need to increase society’s literacy levels in this area. Not that the Portuguese have not, in general, demonstrated a high civic level compared to other European peoples. The vaccination rate demonstrates this. But we can do more and better.

And the school is the ideal place to start a more advanced type of training in this area from an early age. Not least because health literacy has very positive externalities in other domains such as the promotion of healthy lifestyles. For example, in terms of food or smoking prevention.

The second lesson to be learned is to significantly improve performance in terms of health communication. It was heartbreaking to watch some interventions by those responsible for the sector, even the President of the Republic, at times, anticipating unavoidable public health measures such as the use of masks in public spaces.

This communication failure, in addition to the seriousness in itself, opened the public space to an endless number of “political health analysts”, sometimes disguised as experts, generating enormous confusion in society. That is, it is important to create a credible and respected framework to communicate scientific evidence in a firm and convincing way.


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