Sunday, October 17

Concern in Brazil over crowded beaches amid rebound in pandemic

The beaches of Rio de Janeiro have received thousands of bathers.

The beaches of Rio de Janeiro have received thousands of bathers.

The beaches of Rio de Janeiro were taken by thousands of Cariocas and tourists this Sunday, on the eve of the beginning of the austral summer, which ignited the alerts of the specialists before the possibility that such agglomerations aggravate the pandemic of the covid-19 in this Brazilian city.

On sunny Sunday and the high temperatures a few hours before the beginning of the austral summer this Monday, thousands of people went to the beaches, the vast majority without a mask or any other prevention, and caused crowds in the famous sands of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblón.

Rio de Janeiro, with 24,473 deaths and 406,820 infections, is the second city most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, which is one of the global epicenters of the pandemic, the second country with the highest number of COVID deaths in the world after the United States, and the third with the most cases, after the United States and India.

After a week of sporadic rains, the sunny and festive day, and temperatures that reached up to 38 degrees Celsius, contributed to the crowds on bathers’ beaches that they did not respect the rules of distancing and that, without protection, they practiced group sports in the arenas.

The fear of epidemiologists is that the agglomerations that were seen on the last Sunday of spring will be repeated throughout the summer and that they will turn the beaches into a breeding ground for the expansion of the pandemic.

“Beaches are open places that invite outdoor activities, but people confuse outdoor recreation with complete neglect of preventive measures. This explains the crowds we see in the arenas of people without masks, sharing objects and talking at short distances, “warned Chrystina Barros, a health researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

“In this way the beaches become an environment conducive to the spread of the virus. People are tired of taking care of themselves and believe that on the beach, outdoors, they can live without any type of prevention,” added the specialist.

For Barros, in the midst of what appears to be a second wave of the pandemic, the arrival of summer poses a risk that can turn into a tragedy if the authorities do not impose new distancing rules or do not monitor existing ones.

“Without a forceful measure that restricts the crowds on the beaches, unfortunately we will have very high numbers of infections, mainly because at this time summer, Christmas holidays and holidays coincide for a large part of the population. The numbers are going up and, without any measure, we will end up paying the bill in lives, “he concluded.

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