The growth of Covid-19 diagnoses in the last two weeks indicates the beginning of a fourth wave of the disease in Brazil, say experts.

Three factors explain why cases are increasing: 1) the flexibilization of protection measures, which generated greater opportunities for contagion; 2) the drop in temperatures, which favors the transmission of respiratory diseases and 3) the entry of more transmissible variants into the country, which escape the protection provided by vaccines.

“It was a reality that we were already expecting for the winter. The most important thing to protect yourself is to get vaccinated, in case the person has not taken all the vaccines offered against Covid”, says infectologist Julio Croda, researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).

The expert says that the new wave will have very different characteristics from the previous ones, which led to an overload of the health system and caused thousands of deaths. “The impact will be much smaller, as the complete vaccination schedule provides protection against the most serious cases”, says Croda. He recommends that the most vulnerable groups – the elderly and immunocompromised people – maintain the use of masks.

Importance of testing

Epidemiologist Lígia Keer, vice president of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Abrasco), believes that the growth of positivity for Covid in exams already allows for a fourth wave. “Diagnoses are growing among people from 18 to 40 years old, precisely an age group in which the vaccine booster has yet to be completed,” she says.

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The doctor is also emphatic in recommending immunization and suggests that people go back to using good quality masks. “On public transport, in environments with little air circulation or in crowded places, it is important to return to wearing masks to reduce the risk of transmission”, suggests Keer, remembering that any mask is better than none, but that PFF2, also called of N95, is the best.

The specialist also highlights the importance of testing so that local governments can make decisions that protect the population. “Self-testing has the advantage of allowing people to quickly isolate themselves if they do. However, this information needs to reach the health authorities, otherwise it will not be possible to monitor the pandemic”, says Lígia Keer.

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