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Mencius Melo e Ana Pastana – From Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – The biggest capital of the Amazon, in January, suffered the consequences of resistance to social isolation measures during the last months of 2020. Scientific denialism, combined with the customs of 2 thousand inhabitants and the attempt to keep the country’s sixth economy active is mixing with the crisis caused by the second wave of Covid-19.

With the discovery aggravation of a new virus variant, the largest city in the Amazon is facing an oxygen shortage crisis, immersed in the largest industrial park in the north of Brazil, where it houses more than 600 national and international companies.

For this reason, REVISTA CENARIUM joined facts and photos that may explain the new explosion of burials in Amazonas. They are images motivated by official and unofficial denialist speeches. For a false sense of security and for the urgency to “make the wheel of the economy” work.

From the crowded beach on a sunny Sunday in September of last year to the lack of oxygen in hospitals in mid-January 2021, review images here that make the capital of Amazonas, one of the symbols of a pandemic tragedy already announced.

Pandemic summer

Ponta Negra beach crowded with bathers even amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year (Cenarium Magazine / Ricardo Oliveira)

 The sunny Sunday in September, shortly after the first peek of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil. The CENARIUM MAGAZINE figure shows a crowd on Ponta Negra beach, located in the West Zone of the Capital.

The wheel of the economy

The main street of the Manaus retail trade, Marechal Deodoro, in the center of Manaus with some people without the use of a mask or social distance (Mário Oliveira / Secom)

The scene is reminiscent of consumption spikes practiced at times like Christmas, but it is about Manaus downtown months before the end of the year parties. The people spread out and gathered to buy in the popular shops in Amazon´s Capital.

Among the palms to attract attention, many customers with the mask on their chin and others without. Thus “the wheel of the economy turned”, which was so-called by politicians and executives of the State. The result of so much exposure now occupies the headlines of newspapers around the world.

Protests

In protest, last December, merchants, and shopkeepers demonstrated against a decree closing non-essential trade-in Manaus (Cenarium Magazine / Gabriel Abreu)

With the end of 2020, the false sense of security transformed the warning of a second wave, predicted by scientists Lucas Ferrante and Jessen Orellana, into a “bad omen” propagated to scare the population. Scientists appear to have been “beaten in the public square” by deniers.

 The alert was understood by the state government, which in the post-natal week decreed the closure of trade. Cornered by various sectors of society, Governor Wilson Lima came to suffer threats from extremists on social networks. The opposition-led population revolted and the decree was repealed days later.

Clandestine parties

Head of the Amazonas Public Security Secretariat (SSP-AM), Louismar Bonates, in action this month, against breach of government decree (Reproduction / SSP-AM)
Illegal party participants are placed against the wall in a police approach against pandemic agglomerations (Reproduction / SSP-AM

Even with the repeal of the decree, prohibitions on festive events were maintained to avoid crowding. From then on, the new coronavirus had the “rebellion” of producers who promoted the famous “clandestine parties”.

Social networks became a meeting point for “intubated futures” that marked the time and place to meet and spread the disease even more. It was up to the State Police to avoid the events as much as possible.

 ‘Accountability’

Family members accompany burials of victims of Covid-19 at the Tarumã Cemetery, West Zone of Manaus (Reproduction / Edmar Barros)

So much exposure and lack of care have led Manaus and the Amazon to a collapse in the public and private health networks. With the arrival of January, the city is experiencing a nightmare that caught the world’s attention. Hundreds of Amazonians fell under the harmful effect of a variant of the virus.

The news spread around the world and the ‘mother of the gods’, which is the translation of the name Manaus in Tupi-Guarani, cried their dead on national television. The average burial hit nearly 200 in a single day. The “invoice arrived” and the price was high.

 Hospital collapse and lack of oxygen

The patient carries an oxygen cylinder in the largest hospital in Amazonas, August 28 (Reproduction / Journal El País)
Oxygen loading arrives at the health unit in the capital of Amazonas (Cenarium Magazine / Arlesson Sicsu)

With hundreds of patients knocking on their doors in the first month of 2021, the health care network in Amazonas collapsed and a problem hitherto ignored has become an even greater nightmare for patients, medical staff, and relatives of the victims: the lack of oxygen.

 With overload in the hospital network, oxygen consumption jumped to stratospheric numbers and despair overtook a city. Manaus became a cause of national commotion and personalities from all over the country joined in a campaign to collect oxygen.

A farewell from a distance

Through the bars, outside, family members accompany burial at Cemitério São João Batista (Cenarium Magazine / Mencius Melo)

This Friday, the 15th, the report in the CENARIUM MAGAZINE caught a sad scene that became common in times of pandemic. Relatives and friends say goodbye to a loved one outside the São João Batista Cemetery, in the Center-South Zone of the Capital.

The pain of not being able to get close to or even watch over the dead is a mark that will remain from the times when the new coronavirus spread across the planet. What remains for the population that has not succumbed is to maintain the rules of isolation until a possible cure arrives.