Data collected by the SP Covid-19 InfoTracker platform —created by researchers from USP and Unesp with support from Fapesp to monitor the evolution of the pandemic— show that there was an increase in the moving average of new hospitalizations and in the total number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 in the state of São Paulo.
The moving average is the average number of cases over the last seven days. The indicator makes it possible to analyze whether the number —in this case, of new admissions— has increased or decreased over the weeks.
The platform’s data takes into account public and private wards and ICUs. On August 9, the moving average of new hospitalizations was 74. The following week, it rose to 76; and on the 23rd and 30th it reached 87 and 101, respectively.
When comparing the 9th and 30th, the recorded increase is 36%.
“A piece of data considered critical is that of new hospitalizations, as this is the third consecutive week of growth, rising increasingly sharply”, says Wallace Casaca, professor at Unesp and coordinator of the SP Covid-19 InfoTracker platform.
“This last week, the jump in hospitalizations was 16%. August was the month in which this curve was reversed. We left a trend of continuous decline in hospitalizations in recent months and started to register an increase”, he adds. “This shows that there is an acceleration in the transmission of Covid in the state, possibly reflecting the new omicron subvariants, especially EG.5.”
The total number of hospitalized people also showed growth. On August 9, 512 patients were hospitalized due to suspected or confirmed Covid in the state. The following week, 517. On the 23rd and 30th, 558 and 589 people were hospitalized, respectively.
Hospitalizations have the 3rd increase since November
On November 24, 2022, the moving average of new admissions was 476, with 3,222 hospitalized.
The last highest peak of Covid-19 occurred on March 9 of this year, when the moving average of new hospitalizations was 272, with 2,016 hospitalized.
“In November last year, there was a rapid increase in the Covid-19 hospitalization curve, with a peak recorded at the end of the month. Then, it began to cool down. It rose again in mid-February, reached a new peak in March and declined. And now, in August, we have a new increase”, says the researcher.
“We will probably not reach the milestones of November and March, but the situation should not be put into perspective, as there were significant increases in the Northern Hemisphere, caused by the new sublineages. The increase in transmission observed in August is worrying, requiring care from the population, especially by risk groups. This includes the use of masks in closed places and with agglomerations and vaccination reinforcement”, says Casaca.
In the assessment of Evaldo Stanislau de Araújo, an infectologist at Hospital das Clínicas de São Paulo, there will be no new waves of Covid-19. The virus has mutated and continues to circulate, but there is no clinical impact from the point of view of a significant increase in the number of infections.
“Today we are in a better situation to face Covid, because we have tests, antivirals, vaccines and immunity, resulting from both exposure to the virus and the vaccine. How fragile are we? And that’s what worries me — vaccination coverage is very low, and testing for Covid is also significantly lower around the world”, says Araújo. “By testing less, we see less of what is happening with the virus.”
According to the expert, if vaccination coverage and testing remain low, the scenario may be different in the future. The report asked him if there is a possibility that new variants are silently circulating in Brazil, and the answer was yes.
Until this Wednesday (30), the country had confirmed two cases of the EG.5 variant of the coronavirus, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. BA.2.86 has not yet been detected in Brazil.
The test scoreboard within the Seade Foundation platform, with data from public and private laboratories, stopped being fed in May 2023, when the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Importance for the Covid-19.
When analyzing the first five months of 2023, there is a sharp drop in tests – from 41,861 in January to 1,756 in May.
“I continue to recommend that anyone with respiratory symptoms take the test. If the doctor doesn’t ask you to, go to the pharmacy and do the self-test. If it’s positive, see the doctor. If it’s negative and it’s a very important clinical suspicion or it’s a person at higher risk, such as the elderly or people with comorbidities, repeat the test in 48 hours”, advises Araújo.
SP has 181 thousand deaths from Covid
From the beginning of the pandemic until August 30, the state of São Paulo recorded just over 6.6 million cases and 181,100 deaths from the disease.
Of the dead, heart disease (57.9%), diabetics (41.1%) and obese (13.1%) were the majority, according to data from the epidemiological bulletin from the State Department of Health.
Positivity rate in the country jumps in a month
The positivity rate for SARS-CoV-2 in the country increased from 7% to 15.3% between the weeks ending July 22nd and August 19th.
The highest percentages were observed in the age group from 49 to 59 years old (21.4%) and over 80 years old (20.9%).
In the analyzed states, Minas Gerais, with 21.4%, and Goiás, with 20.4%, are the ones with the highest rates of positivity for Covid-19. Next are the Federal District (19.5%), Paraná (15.7%), São Paulo (14.1%) and Mato Grosso (13.6%).
The analysis is from Instituto Todos pela Saúde, based on data from 1,196,275 diagnoses made between August 14, 2022 and August 19, 2023 by the laboratories Dasa, DB Molecular, Fleury, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein (HIAE), Hilab, HLAGyn and Sabin.