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Amazon’s oxygen shortage forces large displacement of patients



SAO PAULO (AP) – Dozens of COVID-19 cases in the Amazon rainforest’s largest city will be flown out of the state when the local health system collapses, officials announced Thursday because of the dwindling oxygen tanks. Down makes some people start to choke at home.

Doctors in Manaus, a city of two million, are choosing which patients to heal, and at least one of the city’s cemeteries is asking mourners to line up to enter and bury the dead. Overworked hospital patients waited desperately all day as oxygen tanks arrived to save some lives. But it came too late for everyone else.

The strain prompted the Amazonas state government to say it would transport 235 people dependent on oxygen. But not in intensive care to the other five states and the federal capital Brasilia.

“I would like to thank those governors for reaching us in a human manner,”

; Amazonas Gov. Wilson Lima said at a news conference on Thursday.

“The whole world looks at us when there is a problem like the lungs of the world,” he said, referring to the general Amazon description. “We are now asking for help. Our people need oxygen “

The governor and several other mayors elsewhere in the country later offered help amid numerous social media videos in which relatives of COVID-19 in Manaus asked followers to buy oxygen.

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão said on Twitter the country’s air force had brought more than eight tons of hospital supplies, including oxygen tanks, beds and tents, to Manaus.

However, federal prosecutors in the city asked local judges to pressure President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration to increase support. Prosecutors said later that the main Air Force aircraft in the region for transportation supply oxygen. “Need repair that will stop the emergency flow”

Neither the Air Force nor the Department of Health responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The US Embassy in Brasilia confirmed it had received a request from local authorities to support the project without giving details.

Manaus authorities recently called on the federal government to strengthen the dwindling oxygen stocks to allow COVID-19 patients to breathe.The city’s 14-day death toll is near the peak of the epidemic. Of the first coronavirus of last year according to official data

At that first peak, Manaus used up to 30,000 cubic meters (about 1 million cubic feet) of oxygen per day, and now its demand has more than doubled to almost 70,000 cubic meters, according to White Martins, the multinational oxygen company. Manaus State Hospital In his press release, the governor blamed the White Martins for supply shortages.

“Due to the severe effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, urban oxygen consumption has increased exponentially over the past few days compared to already very high,” White Martins said in an emailed statement to the AP. Demand is higher than anything could be expected and … continues to grow significantly. ”

The company added that Manaus’ remote locations presented challenging logistics, requiring additional shipping by sea and air. It also said it was considering bringing supplies from neighboring Venezuela to alleviate hardship in Manaus.

The governor also imposed more health restrictions, including a suspension of public transport and a curfew between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM.

The new measure challenges protesters carrying the Brazilian flag on the streets Thursday morning. Lima, previously viewed as a Bolsonaro ally, has faced criticism from conservative presidential supporters for imposing new restrictions aimed at stopping the latest virus outbreak.

Bolsonaro has assessed the risk of the disease, saying the economic impact of the pandemic kills more than the virus. His son Eduardo, a lawmaker who heads the International Relations Committee in Brazil’s Lower House of Commons, was among a number of conservatives to join forces with supporters in December to challenge social allegiance. And disobedience at home

Park of the Tribes, a community of more than 2,500 indigenous people on the outskirts of Manaus, spent more than two months without residents showing signs of COVID-19 in the past week, 29 tested positive. Says Vanda Ortega, a volunteer nurse in the community. Two people went to the urgent care unit. But no one has to be hospitalized yet.

“We are very worried,” said Ortega, a Vitto ethnic group. There is no oxygen for everyone “

The increase in cases comes as a result of the first two months of more frequent rallies during the November local elections, where there was a large rallies and voters following a year-end celebration.

Manaus declared a state of emergency on Jan. 5, a decree allowing the municipal government to temporarily contract personnel, services and materials without public auctions. A separate ordinance suspends permission for incidents and revokes those already granted permission, while the third defines a telecommunication system for municipal employees who are not required until March.

In an article published this week, a new corona was epidemic in Manaus in mid-December. The document raised concerns about the increased transmission capacity or the potential for re-infection, although such a possibility is not yet proven.

A positive COVID-19 test did not reveal which virus the patient had. But it is likely that the new strain was responsible for driving the second wave of Manaus, according to Pedro Hallal, an epidemiologist coordinating with the Federal University. Of the Pelotas testing program, which is the most comprehensive of Brazil

“If it had a circulation in mid-December, it might now be more circulating,” Hallal said over the phone, “so I think at least part of the new infection is caused by new strains. We do not have any clear information. But there are many opportunities “

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Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese reported this in Sao Paulo, and AP writer David Biller reported from Rio de Janeiro.


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