Delta variant: organizations launch 10 measures to protect

Popular movements and civil society organizations launched, this Wednesday morning (1st), a document with “10 urgent measures” to face the delta variant and protect the lives of the poorest in São Paulo (SP) – in particular, from black population.

The proposals were elaborated by the Coalizão pela Vida movement, by the São Paulo for Life Front and by the Plenary of Health in the City of São Paulo.

A member of Covid’s Integrated Prevention Group (GPIC) and of the Coalizão pela Vida movement, Beto Gonçalves cited data that show that suburbs and downtown areas with a high concentration of vulnerable people register 3 to 4 times more deaths per covid than the city average , proportionally.

In parallel, 70% of the tests in the state of São Paulo are carried out in the private network – the city’s data are not available. In addition, vaccination runs 2-3 times faster in the wealthy neighborhoods of São Paulo.

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“In New Zealand, for example, as a person is contaminated, they close the entire city. Here, we are normalizing deaths. We can’t lose anyone’s lives, neither rich nor poor, but the State needs to have a look at who is most vulnerable.”

Gonçalves also criticized the “vaccine passport”, released by the City Hall on Wednesday, which allows people with only the first dose to attend events with more than 500 people.

“What is the scientific support for this measure?”, he asked, noting that the Coalition has been waiting for three months for a meeting with Mayor Ricardo Nunes (MDB). “We are facing a variant that we do not know the impact of, many people are facing long covid, and the necessary measures are not being implemented.”

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Maria José de Sousa, from the Municipal Health Plenary of São Paulo, says that the sanitary measures implemented so far contribute to the state having one of the highest rates of death by covid in the world – and a quarter of deaths in Brazil.

“We know our rights. And, unfortunately, the policies presented and put into practice on a daily basis are insufficient”, he reaffirmed.

O Brazil in fact presented to the city of São Paulo the questions raised during the press conference to launch the 10 measures. This article will be updated as soon as there is a response.

André Kwak, from the São Paulo for Life Front, which has around 500 signatory entities, highlighted the importance of the list.

“These ten points are very expensive for us, because covid has revealed and intensified an inequality that has existed for a long time in the city.”

Beto Gonçalves explains that the Coalition considers a strict “lockdown” as the only policy capable of bringing down the contamination rates in the city. This proposal was included in an appeal sent on April 27 to Ricardo Nunes – then acting mayor. However, the theme was left out of the 10 measures presented this Wednesday.

“The idea was to present measures that they cannot say no to. Something to be applied in 2 to 3 weeks”, he explained.

1. Communication

The first measure presented on Wednesday is a mass communication campaign on the delta variant of the new coronavirus. According to the document, the city “needs to publish daily detailed data on testing, admissions and vaccination. And make available historical series on these data on the Municipal Health Department portal.”

2. Testing

The organizations are also calling for an RT-PCR or RT-LAMP antigen testing campaign guided by epidemiological studies and combined with contact tracing for active case finding, including asymptomatic ones.

3. Masks for everyone

The third proposal is the free distribution of individual kits of PFF-2 masks and similar, with mandatory use in closed or poorly ventilated places.

4. Ventilation

Another measure listed by the organizations was a plan to improve ventilation in public transport, schools, health units and private and public buildings with precarious, non-existent or ineffective windows to provide sanitary security.

5. More fleet

The fifth measure calls for an increase in the public transport fleet, making it possible to limit the number of passengers to avoid overcrowding. The proposal also highlights the need to encourage voluntary actions and determine mandatory rules for the staggering of entry and exit times of companies by economic sectors.

“People are crowded together. But, as the mayor doesn’t take the bus, he only rides with a car, with a driver, he doesn’t see what happens in the city, with the workers”, said Graça Xavier, from the National Union for Popular Housing (UNMP).

6. Investment in primary care

The movements ask for “material and institutional support” to improve the technical training of community health agents, in order to prepare them to face the delta variant.

“This includes serving the most vulnerable groups, testing and orienting the population about symptoms, prevention, treatment, vaccination and post-covid symptoms,” the document adds.

7- Vaccines in the periphery

Organizations are calling for the immediate implementation of a mobile unit program. The idea is to expand the network of vaccination posts and actively search for people missing the vaccination or vaccinated only with the first dose.

8. Comprehensive care

Another measure concerns the support to the poor population directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic. “It should include physical and mental health and socioeconomic actions, such as food and income support for the poorest, in addition to school support for children and adolescents in public schools and the use of public and private green areas for the recovery of physical and mental health of the population affected by the pandemic”, says the document.

9. Zero evictions

The organizations are calling for the urgent suspension of evictions, repossessions and an expansion of the rental/social rental program for highly vulnerable families.

“We had 36 thousand people evicted in the pandemic in São Paulo. It is inadmissible”, said Graça Xavier.

10. Food safety

Finally, the list calls for the provision of food baskets to student families who have not returned to school or are continuing in remote education. Another proposal is “to expand the network of popular restaurants and community kitchens beyond the expanded center, with a greater offer of organic food.”

The movements also ask that the Solidary City program be included in a more comprehensive food, social and health security policy, built and implemented with the participation of academic organizations and civil society working in the area.

The tenth measure was included in the list after a review by researchers from the Covid-19 Br Observatory.

Edition: Leandro Melito

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