The number of consultations for people with flu-like illness reached 286,858 in December 2021 in the city of São Paulo, representing a growth of 156% compared to November, with 111,949 cases. Until January 4 of this year, the pace remained high: there were 32,403 calls.
Data were compiled by the City of São Paulo based on the records of the municipal health units. Of these visits, about half of the cases are suspected of Covid-19, while the rest of the patients have symptoms similar to those of the common flu, caused by the influenza virus .
Variants of the two viruses (Ômicron, from Covid, and H3N2, from influenza) are pointed out by experts as the most likely culprits behind the explosion in cases of flu syndrome and the sharp increase in hospitalizations in the capital — which could also be the beginning of a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The general upward trend we’ve been seeing since early December has been holding up. In a few days, notifications of cases that are dammed will come in and what is expected is that this rise will continue”, says Roberto Kraenkel, professor at Unesp (São Paulo State University) and member of the Covid-19 BR Observatory.
The flu epidemic is already putting pressure on units of the public and private network, which register overcrowding and waiting hours for patients. In response, the city anticipated the vaccination against influenza with extra doses from the Butantan Institute, created a test effort to identify the types of virus responsible and facilitated care at UBSs (Basic Health Units).
After the hacker attack on the Ministry of Health , Brazil suffers from a blackout in several states about the situation of the pandemic and hospitalizations for SRAG (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In the state of São Paulo, for example, there is no data on Covid-19 cases and deaths since December 10th.