New York —

In this state, about 25,370 cases and around 1,620 COVID-19 fatalities were counted until Thursday.

While Brazil still fighting outbreaks in the country’s big cities, the coronavirus It is already a threat to regions in the vast interior of the country, whose health systems have less capacity to meet the growing demand for patients infected with the pathogen.

The immense state of Amazon, whose incidence rate of COVID-19 quadruples the national average, is an example of this new reality.

This region, whose surface is equivalent to three times that of Spain, is home to more than 60 municipalities and most of the country’s indigenous communities, although only in its capital, Manaus, there are intensive care beds (ICU).

In an operation that is increasingly frequent due to the acceleration of the pathogen, a 10-year-old boy infected with the coronavirus from Santo Antonio del Iça, a municipality located almost 900 kilometers from the capital, arrived this coming to Manaus after two hours of flight.

The patient arrived with his father at the Delphina Aziz hospital, a reference center for COVID-19 in the state, presenting a “serious” medical condition, with various edema and body pain.

With him, it was planned that another person from Santo Antonio del Iça also infected would travel, but, in the absence of respirators in the municipality, he had died at dawn, before the doctors embarked her.

Dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), the doctor Thalles Araújo, 47, traveled on this plane.

In statements to the media, Araújo highlighted the importance of following the protocols defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to “protect” the people involved in the transportation of patients.

According to the coordinating doctor of the Amazonas air UTI, Edson Rodrigues, the increase in infections in the interior of the state shot up around 65% the number of flights made this May compared to April.

“Before COVID-19, we had a list (of requests for trips to Manaus) of about 8 or 10 patients per day” but “as of May we practically tripled and there were days when we reached a list of 30 patients”, explained to the journalists present at the landing.

As of today, the Amazonas air ICU has six available aircraft and transports some eight patients a day from the interior of the state to the reference hospital in the capital, that is, double the usual amount.

All of this logistics, which requires rigorous work to sanitize and disinfect aircraft, aims to make medical care more accessible to patients living in remote areas of the state.

Indigenous criticism

However the shortcomings are still felt. “Hospital care does not exist here,” said the president of the Kokama Indigenous Federation, Glades Kokama Rodrigues Ramires, from the Amazonian city of Tabatinga.

In telephone statements, Glades explained that “in Tabatinga there is only one military hospital, which is not being as it should be” because “it has no structure to attend to the indigenous people”, who are “going through a very difficult time.”

In an open criticism of the management of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the leader of the Kokama people regretted the “little” support received from the Government and the “lack of respect” for his community and “the rest of the Indians” who live in the country.

Inexorable advance

The alarm signals about the expansion of the pathogen to the interior jumped this week, when the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, released a report on the “risks of the internalization of COVID-19”,

The document revealed that more than 7.8 million Brazilians live, at least, 4 hours away from a town with the appropriate structure to treat severe cases of the disease.

The interim Brazilian Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, this week addressed the penetration of the virus in new areas of the country.

According to Pazuello, the advance of the pandemic towards the interior is “inevitable”, despite the fact that a “reduction of cases” of coronavirus has been verified in “some regional capitals” in the north and northeast of the country,

In fact, data from health authorities shows that the number of locations with at least one case of COVID-19 increased almost 12 times in the last 53 days.

The advance of the pathogen towards the interior territories also worries the mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgílio Neto, who, in a video released this week on his social networks, claimed to fear a “genocide” of Indians in the region as a consequence of a “crime against The humanity”.

The mayor was particularly concerned about the situation of indigenous communities in the interior of the Amazon state and regretted that the pathogen is addressing “those naive people, who end up becoming easy prey for the new coronavirus to carry out its destructive work.”

In this state, about 25,370 cases and around 1,620 COVID-19 fatalities were recorded until Thursday.

Across the country, confirmed cases already exceed 330,000 and deaths amount to 21,000. Brazil already surpasses Russia in number of infections and has only the United States ahead of it.

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