The death rate of intubated COVID-19 patients in Brazil has reached 83.5% since the start of the second wave of epidemics which is wreaking havoc in the country, according to researchers.
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“This shows the fragility of a health system which was already suffering from a lack of investment (…) and was overloaded by the large amount of contamination”, explains Fernando Bozza, researcher at Fiocruz, an institution. reference in public health.
In partnership with the University of Sao Paulo (USP), a team of M. Bozza specializing in intensive medicine research compiled data from public and private hospitals.
A first study, published in the specialized journal The Lancet, taking into account the first 250,000 patients hospitalized in Brazil, had shown that 78.7% of COVID-19 patients intubated from February 15 to August 15, 2020 had died. Much more than in the United Kingdom (69%), Germany (52.8%), Italy (51.7%) or Mexico (73.7%).
The Brazilian situation worsened during the second wave, with a rate of 83.5% observed from November 15, 2020 to March 14.
“Unlike the first wave, when the virus has spread at different rates depending on the region, at the moment, the whole country is strongly affected at the same time”, deplores Fernando Bozza, also emphasizing the lack of training of caregivers.
Regional disparities remain relevant: intubated patients die more in the poor states of the North (90.8%) or the North-East (89.9%), and less in the South-East (79.8%) , richer and better equipped hospitals.
This rate drops to 25% in a state-of-the-art private clinic like Sirio-Libanês in Sao Paulo, or 36% in the Emilio Ribas public referral hospital, also in the Paulista megalopolis.
“Some hospitals are so overwhelmed that patients have to be intubated outside of intensive care units. This is the case for 17% of them in the North region ”, specifies the researcher.
He points to “the lack of national coordination to establish treatment protocols that would allow better training of teams and provide hospitals with the necessary means to manage the influx of patients”.
Brazil is the second country most bereaved by the pandemic, after the United States, with more than 313,000 deaths and an average of more than 2,500 dailies over seven rolling days.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, criticized from all sides for his chaotic handling of the crisis, recently appointed his 4th Minister of Health since the start of the pandemic.