Coronavirus NORTH EAST

The Struggle Continues: Maranhão fights the pandemic

“Our central focus is to save lives and we will not abandon it.”

During the 2018 presidential elections, Jair Bolsonaro lost by a 2:1 ratio to Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad in Brazil’s traditional Northeast region, and left and center left governors were elected in 8 of its 9 states. Today, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Brazil, the northeastern governors stand as pillars of scientific reason, protecting their populations from sabotage, slander and poor information coming from US puppet ruler Jair Bolsonaro and the necropolitics of his crypto-fascist ministers. After the Bolsonaro government blocked a shipment of 68 ventilators from a factory in Santa Catarina to Maranhão, communist governor Flávio Dino (PC do B) worked with the Chinese government to smuggle 107 of them into the state via Ethiopia. Then, a week later, the Supreme Court overturned Bolsonaro’s order and ordered the Santa Catarina factory to deliver the ventilators within 48 hours. With schools and businesses closed and 70% of Maranhão’s ICU units currently occupied, Governor Dino is promising a full, Chinese style lockdown if occupation surpasses 80%. The following translated text, which opens quoting Pan African independence fighter Samora Machel, is a message from Governor Dino to the citizens of Maranhão. – BM

A luta continua/The struggle continues

By Governor Flávio Dino

Several weeks in, the battle against coronavirus in Maranhão is getting more and more intense. Before the first case was diagnosed in our state we established preventative measures which were essential in preventing the situation that we face today from being even worse than it is. We have worked every day to raise public consciousness about the importance of social distancing and suspension of non-essential services. These initiatives bother everyone but they are vital in order for us to gain time to increase our state hospital system capacity and prepare our health workers for this arduous mission.

We are fighting the pandemic on two important fronts: on the one hand, the population, businesses and public institutions are now aware of the problem and are adopting social distancing as a prevention strategy; on the other, our health professionals are now adequately equipped with PPE as they treat the patients in our hospitals.

Now we are arriving at a sensitive moment in this battle. The numbers are growing exponentially. The number of confirmed cases has grown thirty-fold in April, surpassing 2000. We have done everything we can to increase our capacity to receive patients in our health system, but we haven’t been able to expand fast enough to meet the demand. No country in the world, even those that are very developed, has been able to provide health services for all of its population at the same time. We do not want have to deal with this situation in Maranhão so we have to depend on cooperation between the state and municipal public health systems and with the collaboration of society.

Our main focus is to save lives and we will not abandon it. Therefore, we are continuing to expand the number of hospital beds in the state public health system – amplifying existing structures and setting up new ones – to guarantee the conditions that the population needs. When the pandemic started, we reserved 252 beds for coronavirus patients in the state hospital system. Now we have over 600 and we are continuing to expand. There are also many mayors who are increasing capacities in their municipal public health systems and efficiently using their neighborhood health clinics, which are fundamental ports of entry for new patients and centers of problem resolution.

As we work with all of our energy, I reiterate that it is fundamental for everyone to act responsibly in terms of prevention. Practicing social distancing, following hygiene guidelines and using masks in all public places are imperative right now. We will contribute with all of the health professionals who are on the front line of this battle, who I deeply thank for their dedication. Let’s keep fighting with faith, courage and lots of work, from Sunday to Sunday.

This article was translated by Brian Mier, from the Maranhão State Government website and can be seen in its original portuguese here.