All countries that have been successful in facing the epidemic have done the same, those who have failed, they make mistakes, each in their own way. The conclusion is “Coronavirus Politics: Comparative Politics and the Policy of COVID-19 “, A book published on Thursday (22) by the University of Michigan Press and which compares the effects of public policies and government decisions to counteract Kovid-19 in 77 countries.
When defining the opening sentence of the literary work Anna Karucina by Liv Tolstoi – “All happy families look alike, each unhappy family is grieving in its own way” – a study led by Alice Massard da Fonseca (Fundação Getúlio Vargas) Members of, Scott Greer and Elizabeth King (School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in the United States) indicate that social security initiatives – such as emergency aid, credit lines for companies and reduction in taxes and fees for vulnerable people – When applied in a timely manner. Coordinated with health measures are crucial for preventing the spread of the virus, preventing deaths, and economic instability.
These measures were even more decisive than factors related to health system capacity or income levels. per person each country.
“The great discovery of our study was that countries that managed to add non-medicinal health measures – such as social distance, contact tracking, and the use of epidemics – at the onset of the epidemic – to social policies that actually allowed people Staying at home gave a good response to counteracting the epidemic. Fonseca says it was seen in high, middle and low income countries.
This book looks at the first ten months of Sars-CoV-2 spread worldwide (until September 2020), when vaccines were not yet available. The analysis was attended by 66 researchers, who spread around 77 countries across five continents. There are chapters that address and compare more than one country or region.
In addition to the book, a trio of researchers also published an article in the magazine on 20 April Global Public Health On the lessons of combating Kovid-19 in Brazil, Germany, India and the United States.
Necessary measures to reduce or prevent the spread of the virus were already known as soon as the epidemic was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. “We all learn very quickly about the risks, means of spreading Kovid-19, how deaths and the collapse of health systems can be prevented. Above all, if we compare it to the AIDS epidemic, for example, which took years to complete the genetic sequencing of the virus and even understood that it was an STD “, the researcher reports is.
Fonseca explains that with Kovid-19, universities, research centers, and the WHO itself quickly established guidelines to deal with the epidemic. “Well, it was only later that the importance of using two masks was discovered, for example, but it was known that it was a disease caused by a respiratory virus and that countries had answers to the problem. And there was enough information to implement the measures “, he says.
Nevertheless, there was wide variation in response between countries. While the United States, Brazil, India and Spain experienced tragic results with records of deaths and hospitals, miscellaneous cases such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Norway were successful. As a long marathon, the year 2020 ended with China and Vietnam having more consistent and good results than Canada and Germany – both hampered by recurrence Lockdown And restrictive measures.
Thus, the lack of coordination between social health measures was a determinant for poor outcome not only in Brazil, but in many countries. “Here, the ministries of health and economy did not speak, which meant that these combat measures were designed in an unethical manner. Although emergency aid has driven many people out of poverty, it unfortunately has not effectively made the population at home. This is a problem when quarantine and restrictive measures are required. Communication campaigns were also needed so that the largest number of people actually lived at home. ”
According to Fonseca, the use of liberal social policies, frustrated by public health interventions, was also disastrous for the United States, the world’s largest economic power.
Another unsuccessful response led to the downfall of India. In the Asian country, while stricter public health measures have been implemented, no social policy support has been established. On the other hand, Germany, which implemented liberal social protection initiatives in line with social distance, trade offs and good communication with society, was successful in the first phase of facing the epidemic.
Harvest your lehenga and distribute doshas
In Brazil, one may also notice another type of coordination problem. “We had very strong social policies, but health measures were completely non-coordinated within the federal government and between states. In a large country like ours, we need coordinated actions to tackle infectious-infectious disease, not only between neighboring countries, which do not respect borders ”.
For the researcher, cuts in this relationship between health and social protection created only palliative effects in Brazil and in almost all countries, it allowed presidents and prime ministers to withdraw rewards for themselves and distribute the blame they had . No. It was working.
The book states that the President of Brazil claimed the credit for social policies (emergency aid) proposed by Congress and transferred blame for unpopular measures of social distance to states and municipalities. In the United States, Donald Trump did the same. The author also states that, worldwide, populist leaders held China responsible for the problem and sought credit for responding to the epidemic with xenophobic rhetoric and politics.
“In Brazil, each state measured social distance, sometimes even Lockdown, But all in a very unsymmetrical way. In early 2021, with an increase in cases and deaths, it seems that the plug began to fall and a discussion began over states trying to take more explicit action. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health is responsible for this coordination, but, for several reasons, has not stated this responsibility itself ”, he evaluates.
Another finding of the study is to indicate the political variables that helped and hinder the fight against the epidemic, resulting in such heterogeneous reactions between countries. According to the researchers, these political variables meant that the institutional structure of public health, such as health professionals and hospitals, had a limited effect in combating the epidemic.
“The question of presidentialism matters. The President has constitutional powers to act or not to act. In Brazil, [Jair] Bolsonaro used constitutional powers to appoint ministers who are closest to his ideas of fighting the epidemic and disseminate this highly controversial and even cynical agenda. He said that the Ministry of Health had never intervened in a democratic period, in the presentation of data, in clinical protocols, and even in the definition of the list of essential activities, according to the decrees.
Other leaders have also shown controversial behavior through the use of constitutional powers, although some are less eccentric. This was in Chile with Sebastian Piñera, in Mexico with Donald Trump, with López Obredor, and with Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom – in the latter case, until the strategy completely changed in the first half of 2020. No matter how much resources can be put in place for the construction of area hospitals, open ICUs. Presidents used constitutional powers at their disposal to implement their own agendas, not necessarily to deal with epidemics, ”he says.
In the United States, Donald Trump minimized the risk and effects of the virus and was a staunch critic of Anthony Fauci, leader of the White House Task Force Against Coronovirus. “He also set aside his state capabilities at the expense of a controversial political agenda.”
A new wave of vaccination and analysis
The book analyzed countries’ response to an epidemic period when vaccines were not yet authorized and were the only non-pharmacological measures to prevent the virus. “In this first book, we deal with the dynamics of responding to an epidemic that required non-pharmacological measures. When the vaccines started coming out, the political dynamics of the epidemic changed drastically. The new political economy entered into a variable. As of October, there was no approved vaccine, it was only in December 2020 ”, he says.
The group of researchers now intends to launch a new round of analysis and forecast the launch of a second book in late 2021 focusing on vaccine approval and their implementation through vaccination campaigns.
The digital version of the book can be downloaded for free: www.fulcrum.org/concern/monographs/jq085n03q.