A “third wave” could hit Brazilian healthcare system

A “Third wave” could hit Brazilian healthcare system
Photo: Mário Oliveira/SEMCOM

Public health officials expect a “third wave” to overwhelm Brazil’s public healthcare system. After the mass hospitalization of Covid-19 patients and the lack of personal protective equipment, doctors now worry about the possible hospitalization of chronic disease patients — especially those suffering from hypertension and diabetes. According to the Brazilian Society of Family and Community Medicine, these diseases require constant attention, and with appointments and surgeries being canceled due to Covid-19, patients may end up requiring hospitalization.

In some badly hit cities, such as the capital Brasilia, daily appointments have fallen by around a half since the beginning of the outbreak. Doctors are especially concerned over the health of elderly patients, who are not only part of the at-risk group for chronic diseases but are avoiding seeking care due to the fear of contracting Covid-19.

It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of Brazil’s population suffers from chronic diseases.