COVID-19 in Brazil – The testimony of Fr. Mário Luís Kozik

We go from Africa to Brazil to have a better understanding of how the Camillian religious communities and their works of ministry are responding to the pandemic emergency of COVID-19. Today we interview Fr. Mário Luís Kozik, the Provincial Vicar of the Camillian Province of Brazil and Vice-President of the philanthropic organisation that coordinates many health-care and educational institutions in the whole of Brazil.


What is the current situation in the country? How many confirmed cases are there? 

There have been 85,380 confirmed cases and 5,901 deaths. Source: Accessed on 30/04/2020 at 16.50.

Did you encounter aggressive pneumonia before the outbreak of the virus?

No. The symptoms of pneumonia caused by covid-19 are much more aggressive and long-lasting compared to other situations that can lead to a grave acute respiratory syndrome.

What measures have you adopted?

We have equipped specific areas for screening and the isolation of patients with respiratory problems and viral conditions.

We have intensified the training of health-care personnel and the creation of committees for the updating of data and emergency plans.

We have rapidly adopted diagnostic tests for covid-19.

We have provided spiritual assistance to patients and their families.

What has been the response of the population?

As regards covid-19 and secondary breathing difficulties caused by the disease, the response is slow. We keep patients on ventilators for a long time, for over ten days or even more than that.

What has been most frightening?

The ease and rapidity of infection, the speed of the spread of the disease and its high death rate, especially in the more elderly parts of the population or parts of the population already affected by pathologies.

Does the treatment work?

It is certainly the case that early tubing and ventilation applied as soon as possible in the gravest cases has benefits and increases the possibility of a better result. Some medical products, such as a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, have been shown to be useful, whereas other therapies are still at the research stage.

What is really necessary?

Measures of personal hygiene, social distancing and the isolation of suspected or confirmed cases. Wearing face masks when one goes out of the home reduces the possibility of infection, in the case of interpersonal contact as well.