We are all aware of the Omicron variant and its effects. On 26/01/2022, SESAB warned that there were 23.985 active cases of Covid-19, an increase of 1.200% compared to the beginning of the month. Apparently, it is a less lethal variant, but more transmissible, which could lead to an overload of the health system. This is already being felt, with occupancy rates in adult ICUs above 70% and pediatric ICUs above 95%, in addition to a significant increase in patients in the regulatory queue for these beds.
We are also seeing the huge impact on the workforce, with many workers being laid off simultaneously. This occurs in all spheres, both in private companies and in the public sector, exemplified by the report of the mayor of Salvador, Bruno Reis, who claimed to have 40% of employees on leave due to Covid-19. And in our institution it has been no different.
We started the medical internship on 17/01/2022. In the first week, we had 12% of the teachers on leave. Several technical-administrative support sectors have more than 50% of their staff with symptoms. Regarding students, we had a 249% increase in the number of suspected cases compared to December 2021 and a 3.500% increase in the number of confirmed cases.
Despite these huge numbers, it doesn't look like we've peaked. The WHO estimates that 50% of the population is infected in this wave, in a period of 2 months. Specialists believe that, in Brazil, the peak should occur sometime in the second half of February. From then on, the number of new cases should begin to decrease rapidly, unlike what happened in previous waves, when we had a high plateau for a prolonged period.
We all want and need real-world interaction. Our planning for 2022.1 was built with the guideline of prioritizing face-to-face activities whenever possible, following the recommendations of health authorities that require distancing, use of appropriate masks and hand hygiene.
However, it would be impracticable to carry out face-to-face activities in the current context, because, on a daily basis, we would have teachers, students and employees absent, making it impossible to hold classes on campuses. These activities would have to be replaced or translocated to the virtual environment.
Therefore, so that we don't need to take a step back in our pedagogical planning and so that we don't lose the gains we will have with the return of face-to-face activities already planned, we decided to postpone the beginning of the semester to the 07/03/2022.
In this way, we are anticipating the academic recess scheduled for April and postponing, by 2 weeks, the beginning of the mid-year vacation.
This measure does not affect the Medicine internship, which has already started on 17/01/2022, and the Physiotherapy internships scheduled to start on 31/01/2022. The EAD Health Informatics course maintains the start date on 07/02/2022. There will also be no changes to the calendar for the 2022.2 semester, starting on 01/08/2022.
We are sure of the understanding and collaboration of our entire academic community and we count on everyone and everyone for the important work of enlightening the population about the importance of vaccinating adults and, now, in particular, children, helping to encourage the maintenance of the already known protective measures, such as the correct use of quality masks, social distancing, hand cleaning and non-agglomeration.
An excellent 2022!
Soon we will be together.