The disaster was once lit with hope thanks to the vaccine

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2021-07-20 22:54:46

Aldei Silva stepped out of the hospital, took off his mask, and looked around. The scene he found was unusually peaceful: No more crying of families who came to him for help, no long lines of ambulances, no more patients begging for help and then being turned away.

The chaos caused by overcrowding caused by Covid-19 not long ago has all disappeared.

Roadside shops are starting to reopen. People started laughing and talking more, talking on the phone comfortably. As for Silva, he felt relieved.

“Thank goodness. There used to be only despair. In comparison, now is like heaven.”

Mutant incubator for a while

The beautiful days have finally come to Manaus – an isolated city of 2 million people in the state of Amazonas (Brazil), where the whole world can see how devastating Covid-19 can be if it takes place in the country. a developing country.

After two devastating waves – one in 2020, and one this year, hospitals are now empty of patients. In July, this is the first time since the outbreak of the disease that the state of Amazonas had a day without recording any Covid deaths.

“We’ve gone weeks without anyone showing up with symptoms of Covid.” – Uildéia Galvão, head of the corona virus treatment department at the hospital August 28. “Vaccines are the most important reason.”

During the days of struggling against the epidemic, Brazil looked to Manaus as a clue to what would happen next. Manaus has already tried to avoid the use of social distancing measures to combat the epidemic, and is also the first place in Brazil’s health system to collapse. After a short period of recovery, they again created conditions for a new strain – Gamma, or P.1 – to flourish, only to destroy the dream of having herd immunity. Scientists even see Manaus as a giant laboratory, a perfect example of what the city would do if it allowed the virus to spread unchecked.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid mutant incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 2.

Vehicles in Manaus wait in line for vaccinations

Brazil now, at a time when it has had to dig graves for more Covid victims than any other country in the world (except the US), once again looks at Manaus. Why? Because while the Covid-19 vaccination campaign has been slow in many other areas, Manaus is leading. They have successfully vaccinated 75% of adults with 1 dose, far exceeding the national rate of 55%. Even healthy young adults in their early 20s have been vaccinated.

As the number of hospitalizations and deaths also plummet, Brazilians across the country are starting to hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to Manaus, vaccination rates have been accelerating in recent weeks. The survey showed a record number, with 94% of Brazilians having a desire to get vaccinated. On July 12, the country recorded the lowest number of new infections since January 2021. Planners have begun planning to hold onto hopes of holding major events later this year.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid mutant incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 3.

And it is also the first time that the scientific community – who has suffered when making anti-epidemic announcements for more than a year – begins to have hope.

“The characteristics of Covid-19 are unpredictable” – Renato Kfouri, director of the immunology department of the Brazilian Pediatric Society. “But at this point, the epidemic is gradually being pushed back, starting with Manaus. The same thing will probably happen to other regions as well.”

Scars can’t heal

In Manaus, many people have carried the mentality of “surviving a shipwreck”. They were glad to have survived the most devastating epidemic, and changed a lot after such experiences.

For more than a year, the whole city had to go through a terrifying suffocation. They are geographically isolated, engulfed by an epidemic of 2 million people in the middle of the Amazon region. There is no way out, only a few scarce options that must be adhered to.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 4.

9200 people of the city died. Many people lose loved ones, with the pain gradually accumulating.

“It’s like a tattoo to me. There’s no way to forget it” – Marcia Freitas, a 44-year-old government employee shared.

When Manaus’ health system collapsed in 2020, Freitas’ grandmother, father-in-law and aunt contracted the disease. “So many people were dying at that time” – she reminisced. Hospitals are overloaded, beds are no longer available. She had to put her in the car, trying to find a place to get help. But by the time she got to the hospital, her grandmother had passed away. On the same day, her father-in-law followed, and her aunt could not pass.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid mutant incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 5.

Manaus, seen from the Rio Negro

Freitas could see the city slowly getting over its pain. But there were still days when she felt stuck, thinking about the most tragic moments. Having lost so much from the epidemic, she didn’t know how to shake off that pain. And looking at the people around her, she knew they had to go through similar stories.

Freitas’ friend Carla Lima, their family survived the first wave of the epidemic, but the Gamma mutant appeared and latched on to them. Within a few days, her parents and brother were both infected. Meanwhile, the medical system is severely overloaded, and the oxygen reserves are gradually depleted. She didn’t know where to take them, where to go to save them.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid mutant incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 6.

People light candles at cemeteries for Covid-19 victims

Lima to the oxygen center. She had to wait 3 days in line to get a takeout bottle. But no one used it, because the three people she loved the most were gone forever. There were only two people left in that family: Lima and her younger sister.

“I had nightmares every night. I couldn’t sleep, had to take antidepressants. There was no way to get rid of those memories. Only chaos remained.”

At a cemetery on the outskirts of Manaus, a gravedigger walks among the graves. It was Ulisses Xavier. He is still wearing the same full body protective suit since the beginning of the pandemic. Although he didn’t have to bury anyone anymore in recent days, he wasn’t ready to let his guard down yet.

The country that was once considered the world's Covid mutant incubator has revived: A disaster once lit with hope thanks to a vaccine - Photo 7.

Placing his hands on one of the thousands of crosses erected amid the wave of the plague, he began to reminisce. Victims were transferred, layer after layer, like the waves of the ocean.

The ground he was standing on was once where the cemetery workers played football while resting. But when the epidemic wave appeared, each piece of land had to be used as a final resting place for the dead. He looked into the distance, thinking of the old days in the hope that they would never return.

“That day was like wartime. A war against the virus, and we almost lost. But now, thanks to the vaccine, things are slowly coming back.”

Source: Washington Post


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