A year ago, on March 11, 2020, the covid-19 disease was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Two days later, the Venezuelan Executive established a national State of Alarm that came into effect on the 16th to be able to take all the necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of the virus, which by then was ravaging Asia and Europe.
Today, 12 months later, Venezuela has encouraging indicators from the health point of view: it has managed to manage the crisis with a significant reduction in the incidence of infections and deaths, in a complex economic, political and social context with the depletion of resources impact on the quality of life of Venezuelans.
The immediate and total suspension of work, sports, recreational, academic and other activities was part of the strategy that began with a contingency plan announced in mid-February when the WHO warned of the risks of the virus.
While the coronavirus spread through Europe, particularly in Italy, 123456 a, Spain, the United Kingdom and France, Venezuela was consolidating a comprehensive strategy taking into account events in other parts such as China and South Korea,
with a key that has been very favorable and on which he has concentrated his efforts in recent years: social organization.
But what has made the Venezuelan method really work?
Based on the Chinese experience, a radical quarantine was applied compared to other regions where they reported staggered or late averages.
The example that has great significance is the United States, which a year later continues to be the nation with the highest incidence of infections and fatalities.
On the other hand, Venezuela was the first country in Latin America to limit air operations and transit through land borders with the mitigation that the first two confirmed cases arrived from Spain. The Bolivarian plan does not contemplate the imposition of measures by force, but not so in neighboring nations such as Argentina, Peru, Chile and Ecuador, among others, places where in a few weeks the contagion curves became exponential.
Mobility in the streets and main avenues of the national territory was reduced by 85% on business days and with a reduced flow of people on weekends to replace food and belongings, with frequent visits by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). ) and citizen security bodies that with megaphones called to preserve the measures.
In a short time, the sanitary protocols that Venezuela implemented became customary in the population and the first measures ordered from the government were adopted with the fulfillment of the quarantine that was maintained for much of 2020 from Monday to Monday. Also, special attention was given to older adults, while all the provisions to manage the pandemic were concentrated in a presidential commission that daily reported and continues to report new confirmed cases in order to raise awareness among the population of the risks. .
Tons of humanitarian aid
There are many factors that influence the results that Venezuela shows today and among these elements, cooperation with allies such as the People's Republic of China stands out, which at the end of April had controlled the pandemic in its territory. One of the first contingents of international support that the Asian nation organized was sent to the South American country along with specialists from renowned institutes.
The situation on the other side of the world continued to worry experts and multilateral organizations. The economic interest of the centers of power prevailed and the deaths numbered in the thousands. Against this background, which monopolized the covers of the main
newspapers and media, Venezuela coordinated the acquisition of equipment and materials to supply the Public Health System, as well as the arrival of various shipments of humanitarian technical aid.
The agreements also signed with countries such as Russia and Turkey took effect with the arrival from Moscow and Ankara of significant quantities of supplies and medicines to face the pandemic. According to figures presented by the Vice President of the Republic, Delcy Rodríguez, until this March 2, China sent at least 313 tons of equipment and supplies through an air bridge between the two nations.
In addition, thanks to cooperation with the United Nations Children's Organization Fund (Unicef), on November 22, a shipment of medical supplies and vaccines arrived in Maiquetía to reinforce health care.
Doses of Trivalente Viral, BCG, DTP arrived to immunize infants against diseases caused by diphtheria, bordetella pertussis, tetanus and antipoliomyelitis.
With Beijing it was possible to provide equipment for the detection of the virus and thousands of rapid test kits that were applied in a massive screening. The search strategy for cases has made Venezuela one of the countries that, compared to the number of inhabitants, applies the largest number of diagnostic tests with more than 2.920.000, about 97.000 per million residents.
The discipline of the mask
When the virus devastated the health systems of other territories, the anticipated containment measures taken by Venezuela were in tune with the experience of the epicenter countries that at that time were not prepared to face it, because they dismissed the alert that since the end of the year 2019 towards WHO.
That is why, in places like Spain and Italy, the virus was aggressive, because when they took into consideration the seriousness of the issue, the level of spread among their populations was very high. Even when little was known about this multisystemic inflammatory syndrome disease, the use and effectiveness of the mask for containment was questioned in the media, which accelerated the transmission of the virus from one person to another.
Despite this, the Venezuelan population continued to use it in a preventive manner. More than 350 days later, when the pandemic continues unabated, Venezuelans have made it part of their routine, and this means of protection, if not the safest, has been one of those that has significantly slowed down the spread, accounting for up to the date around 140 thousand cases, 94% of them correspond to people who are already recovered, and a little more than 1.350 deaths.
“The greatest decree is the conscience of the people. We, from Venezuela, say, it is necessary to wear a mask. The mask is a natural protector, it avoids the emission of particles and its use is important to avoid contagion of Covid-19 ”,
expressed the President of the Republic Nicolás Maduro in one of his addresses to the country.
An investigation by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University in the USA, together with specialists from the National Tsinghua University of Taiwan, China, published in the journal Nature Communications, verifies that both the mask and its
distribution among the population, helps deaths and infections decrease as their availability increases.
In this sense, Venezuela pointed out, whose population put their creativity to work, made and improvised masks among families and collectively. With this scientific consideration and the WHO statistics, many of the cases that occurred, for example, in the US, Colombia and Brazil, the latter two bordering Venezuela, could have been avoided if the use of face masks had been used on a massive scale. .
The late measures of the New Granada authorities, in particular, have made the neighboring country number 11 of the 15 with the highest number of infections and deaths from covid. Today, Colombia exceeds 2 million cases and 60 thousand deaths. Own
Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Fernando Ruiz, explained that during the first months, they were "very lax with the mask."
By September 2020, Ruiz acknowledged that the situation in Asian countries, where the first outbreak was identified, was favorable with a low rate of infections due to the massive use of the means of protection in the mouth and nose.
On several occasions the Venezuelan authorities have stated that the masks are safe, since they help to block whoever is carrying the virus, and it is more convenient if a considerable distance is maintained from other people.
Wearing a mask or mask, properly, can block respiratory droplets and prevent the virus from entering the body.
House to House Screenings
The promotion and effectiveness of the mask in the Venezuelan case has much to do with the definition of a statistical pattern based on a study by the Spanish engineer Tomás Pueyo, who affirms that by means of containment, the virus can be minimally degraded. The opposite happened in the countries that registered the first outbreaks; its epidemiological fences and massive containment did not give results because the prevention measures were taken on time, and that is that while the official figures accounted for a number of "confirmed cases", the "real cases" were much higher.
The reason, the constant mobility, and the ignorance of when someone began to have symptoms or was asymptomatic; the only way to know was when the patient went to a consultation and obtained a diagnosis. All the opposite in Venezuela, whose containment strategy was defined with a system of surveys that were carried out through the Patria platform and the social systematization with the account.
This strength allowed us to know of many cases with a house-to-house deployment in combination with the forty; community doctors, social leaders and students from the last semesters of medicine formed brigades with the advice and
accompaniment of the Cuban Medical Mission. Online surveys turned out to be very useful to collect information in real time on the symptoms of patients, people at high risk and outbreaks in specific locations in the country.
After determining the outbreaks and people in need of care, a team of comprehensive doctors approaches the areas to be evaluated to capture and quickly attend to potential patients. The house-to-house screening was outlining to the extent
that new complexities arose; This is how the Government ordered the hospitalization of all positive cases to prevent intra-family infections.
Likewise, another complement to the Venezuelan case was that with the provision of necessary supplies, five types of drugs were created to treat asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe patients, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases. Each kit contains instructions and drugs to combat the viral load of the disease.
The Minister for Health, Carlos Alvarado, specified that at the time of approaching a patient, underlying diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, among others, are identified in order to take into account the appropriate treatment in these patients. He said that ivermectin and vloroquine are used in the treatment of asymptomatic cases.
Aspirin is also used to help patients recover and for mild symptoms they use retrovirals together with azithromycin.
“Treatments of different scales are being applied, also special treatments to mild patients, but whose condition is that they are older than 60 years and / or with underlying diseases. I want to convey confidence to the Venezuelan people, because we have a health and treatment system to serve them, ”he says.
A flexibilization plan
By June 2020, the contagion curve began to rise due to an irregular and migratory phenomenon promoted from the border with Colombia, according to the complaints presented by the government. These are the so-called trocheros: nationals and Colombians who crossed the border line due to the growing concern and lack of
health care in the neighboring nation.
Many of the infections came in this way, and consequently the cases increased in western and central areas of the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the epicenter of the disease was now located in the Western Hemisphere, and despite this scenario, Venezuela launched a 7 + 7 plan that consists of alternating restrictions on mobilization and recreation public with social and conscious quarantine.
The justification was evident, until that moment, the applied method had made it possible to stop the community propagation chains, showing figures much lower than those of most countries in America. President Maduro explained that this
The relaxation method combines treatments, disinfection days, the necessary flexibility and quarantine to cut the chains of propagation in seven days.
First country in America to receive Sputnik V In addition to the effectiveness of the applied method, the relationships in health matters with the partners allowed the country to receive the first batch of doses of the vaccine developed by the National Center for Research of Epidemiology and Microbiology Gamaleya of Moscow, Russian Federation, named Sputnik V.
Even in the search for cases at the local level, Venezuela planned the acquisition of vaccines that would be a way of gradually resuming social normality. Thus, for phase III of the clinical trials of the Russian drug, some 2.000 Venezuelans among the more than 40.000 volunteers also distributed in nations such as the United Arab Emirates, India and Belarus, verified the efficacy of the vaccine.
After the clinical trials were completed, Venezuela as one of the prioritized destinations, received on February 13, 2021 the first batch of doses for mass vaccination of a total of 10 million acquired by the Republic from the Russian Fund for Direct Investments.
The initial phase includes medical personnel who have been dealing with the situation since March 2020.
With another 500.000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine produced by the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group State Corporation, and which arrived at dawn on Tuesday, March 2, the first phase of the vaccination plan now includes teaching staff with a view to retaking the third academic moment of the education system.
Related to this, education was another aspect that containment focused on. Despite the connectivity weaknesses in the country, the "Every Family a School" program was created to adapt school activities and guarantee educational attention. This plan seeks to preserve the health of children and adolescents with a distance study system, and the supply of food through the School Feeding Program (PAE).
As if that were not enough, the fight against the covid was not limited to the foreseen scenario. It also brought with it the development of two drugs approved by the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC). It is about the DR10 molecule and Carvativir. The latter is a powerful antiviral that neutralizes the symptoms of the disease, detailed the first national president.
According to virologist Héctor Rangel, from IVIC, the antiviral created in the country has shown activity "in vitro", after they evaluated different concentrations of this compound in cells infected with SARS-CoV-2. "There was a decrease in the formation
of lithic plates. That indicates an antiviral activity. We repeated the test a couple of times, and we found the same behavior, "he added.
In synthesis, this medicine is made with natural compounds such as oregano and thyme, from which isothymol was isolated as an active principle. This experience of Venezuelan science was even evaluated by recognized study centers such as the Mayo Clinic in the US, a body that certified the levels of cytokine in the blood plasmas of patients who received the antiviral and those who received placebo.