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Bolsonaro calls the corona virus a “small flu.” Inside a Brazilian hospital, doctors know the terrible reality



Brazil's favelas struggle as coronavirus cases skyrocket

In the large intensive care unit (ICU) of the Emilio Ribas Infectious Disease Institute in São Paulo, anger swirled among doctors when asked about their President’s comments. “Rebelling,” said one. “Not relevant,” said another.

Jacques Sztajnbok is more controlled. “This is not the flu. That’s the worst thing we have ever faced in our professional lives.” His eyes were slow and narrowed, when I asked him if he was worried about his health. “Yes,” he said, twice.

The reason why is clearly in the ICU’s extraordinary silence. Coronavirus kills behind the hospital curtain, in a suffocating silence, so far and foreign to the global upheaval and noisy political divisions it has inspired. But when it takes life, it’s terrible.

The first breakthrough seen in calm was a flashing red light. The second, a hair covering of a doctor, moves up and down just above the privacy screen, when his stiff arm puts a hard and unforgiving chest pressure on a patient.

The patient is in his 40s, and his medical history has meant days of bad chance of survival. But change, when it arrives, is sudden.

Another nurse entered. At this ICU, medical staff stop in an outside room to put on and wash, but only a few moments before competing in. In the corridor outside, a doctor fumbled, clumsily wearing his dress. These times have come many times before in a pandemic but, today, it has not become easier. The ICU is full, and still tops in Sao Paulo in maybe two weeks.

Through the glass, well-known staff cram tightly around the patient’s head; to replace the tube; to shift posture; to change their position and free each other from tiring tasks. Their unforgiving compression on the patient’s breastbone is all that keeps him alive.

A doctor appeared, sweating on his brow, to stop in the cold air and the corridor. The sliding glass door slammed – a rare sound – when someone else entered. For 40 minutes, the frenetic focus continues. And then, with no warning heard, it suddenly stopped. The lines on the heart monitor are flat, permanent.

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Coronavirus has damaged our lives extensively, but the way it kills remains so often hidden in the ICU, where only brave health workers see the trauma. And for the staff here, it’s getting closer every day.

Two days before our visit, they lost a nurse nurse Mercia Alves, 28, in the job. Today, they are standing together in the glass of another isolation room, in which there is a doctor on their team, intubated. Another colleague stated positive that day. The disease that had filled their hospital seemed to begin to afflict them.

A large favela school in Paraisopolis is used as an isolation center for people with coronavirus.

The Emilio Ribas hospital is full of bad news – no bed space before the peak hit, and staff are dying of a virus – but it is the most complete one that Sao Paulo has. And that is a dark sign for the next few weeks Brazil. Its largest city is the richest, where local governors insist on locking up and facing masks. But the number of deaths is still nearly 6,000 and more than 76,000 confirmed cases are indicative of what – even in the most ready places in Brazil – to come.

Wealth is not health keeping Bolsonaro busy, who has recently begun to call the war on viruses “war.” But on May 14, he said: “We must be brave enough to deal with this virus. Are people dying? Yes they are, and I’m sorry. But many more will die if the economy continues to be destroyed because of this. [lockdown] Measurement.”

Rampant disease in the favelas

Across town, in the favela there is no debate. Having anything aside is commonplace, and has brought a form of isolation of its own from the whole city some time ago. But the priority here has long been clear: survival.

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Renata Alves laughed, shook his head, and said “that’s irrelevant,” when asked about Bolsonaro’s opinion, the virus was just “cold”. The business is serious, and every hour.

Around him, the urgent task of staying alive as hum. In one room, rows of sewing machines were placed, where women were taught how to get back to their streets and start making masks from whatever they could find. Elsewhere, 10,000 food was brought in, prepared, and then sent again, in small quantities, to streets that could not put food on their own table in lockouts.

Alves, a voluntary health worker with the Favela G10 aid group, headed for one of the most severely affected areas in the suburbs of Paraisopolis. The crowded streets and narrow alleys explain why the disease here is so rampant.

And Alves realizes that he only knows half the picture among 100,000 potential patients. Only when a person has three symptoms, he is allowed to offer the Covid-19 test, and even that is paid here by a private donor. Many cases go undetected.

When hospitals in Brazil staggered to the brink of collapse, Bolsonaro did push-ups with supporters

“Most of the tests are done when the person is already in an advanced stage of the disease,” he said, as he headed to Sabrina’s house, an asthma sufferer who was isolated with his three children in three small rooms. The doctors used wooden sticks to check the back of his throat with a flashlight, and greeted the children who were bored and confused, before continuing.

“Kasing can be difficult,” Alves told me. “A fat woman needs eight people to take her to our ambulance. And a man with Alzheimer’s … we have to ask the family if we can physically move him from his house. It’s difficult.” The woman survived, the man died.

Far above the overcrowded road – crowded when everyone seems to be out to meet the garbage truck – is Maria Rosa da Silva. The 53-year-old man said he thought he had a virus because he went to the market here, even though he was wearing a mask and gloves. So he was “locked in,” three floors on his leafy terrace, without a fence. The social abyss seems only possible here if you do it vertically.

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“People like me in the risk group are dying,” he stressed. “Even yesterday the pharmacy owner died. Many lost their lives due to someone’s carelessness. If it is for the public good, we must do this.”

Volunteers prepare around 10,000 meals that are distributed to the Paraisopolis favela residents every day, so they don't have to leave the house to eat.

Social responsibility on these dangerous and poor roads also causes isolation centers to be located close to quiet schools. The government handed over the building to a privately funded project, which now has dozens of patients in it. It’s ready, with sparkling uniforms monitored by CCTV, for much more.

Other signs of readiness are less entertaining. In the hills above São Paulo, Vila Formosa’s grave is filled with sorrow, and evaporates with hope – filled with endless empty and fresh graves. Funerals seem to occur every 10 minutes and even that doesn’t make a dent in the many new holes dug in red dust.

Brazil has a headstart – for at least two months witnessing the tragedy of the corona virus sweeping the world.

But irrefutable evidence throughout the world about the horror of this disease, instead produced mixed messages from the government. And the number of deaths and data sets from new cases – horrifying as it is – may fail to reflect the whole tragedy that has already taken place.

What has happened elsewhere – and sent blazing warnings all over the planet – happened here, all the same, and maybe worse.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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