As we come to the end of the holiday period in Brazil in July, the beginning of a new academic semester brings back the discussion about whether the resumption of face-to-face classes is safe due to the context of the covid-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) released a manifesto advocating the safe reopening of schools last July 7, at the end of the Safe Reopening of Schools" Seminar conducted by the Agencies in online format. The text cites recent research conducted by the Intelligence Research and Consulting Institute (Ipec) for Unicef, indicating that two out of ten Brazilian students are attending face-to-face school activities. "When we analyze this data by social class, the differences are enormous. While 40% of A class children can access face-to-face classes, in D and E classes, they are only 16%. The pandemic has deepened the gap of our inequalities, and in education the impact is even greater," says the document.

O Manifesto explains that education is a fundamental right and raises the concern of UN Agencies about the impact of school closures on the learning and development of children and adolescents, as well as the consequences for their mental health, nutrition and protection.

The text also mentions UNESCO's interactive monitoring map, according to which, at the global level, schools were closed (totally or partially) for an average of 5.5 months (22 weeks). In most Latin American countries, the average is over 41 weeks. In Brazil, it is as high as 53 weeks. "And that's even though schools should be the last institutions to close and the first to open - as they are in any humanitarian emergency," they warn.

In Brazil, schools are "partially open". According to the Unesco interactive map, data from July 18, 2021 (the last available date before school holidays) indicate that almost 53 million Brazilian students were affected by school closures during the covid-19 pandemic. Also according to the UNESCO map, countries such as Canada, the United States and Germany also follow the same regime, with schools "partially open". England, France, Portugal, Italy and Spain are examples of places where schools are fully open.

Reopening
While advocating for the reopening of schools, the Manifesto of UNESCO, Unicef and PAHO/WHO makes it clear that this attitude must be accompanied by health care and protocols that ensure the safety of the school community. "Inside the school, it is essential to adopt all Covid-19 prevention protocols, such as use of masks (according to the recommended for each age), hand hygiene, social distancing, respiratory etiquette, ventilation of spaces, cleaning and disinfection of environments, spacing of tables and organization of classes", says the text.

In addition to protocols, the positioning of the Agencies emphasizes that hybrid education can also be included in this resumption and that the active search of students is "urgent". The Manifesto also recalls that it is essential to ensure the vaccination of frontline workers of essential services such as health, education and social assistance. "In August, a new school semester begins. It is necessary to act now and reopen the schools safely to ensure the right of every child, adolescent and young Brazilian to a quality education", concludes the document.

Testing
The Cube Scan, a solution for diagnosis of covid-19 in development at Radiolife, was designed to contribute to the creation of a habit of mass and frequent testing. Because it is a portable device, simple to handle and fast (the result comes out in ten seconds), it could be used daily at the entrance of schools, for example. The same idea could be adopted in other situations such as airports and stadiums or any other closed environment, before the entrance of the frequenters. The Cube Scan is under development in Radiolife and as soon as it receives the authorizations of regulatory agencies, will begin its marketing. Learn more about here.

The main goal of Radiolife is to improve the quality of life through technology. But what is quality of life? How to seek it in the middle of the pandemic? According to Health and Wellness sitethe World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as "an individual's perception of his or her position in life within the context of the culture and value systems in which he or she lives and in relation to his or her goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. Below, check out tips on quality of life and mental health during the pandemic.

First of all, health and quality of life are not the same thing, although they are very closely related. When we talk about quality of life, we are also not only talking about physical health, but also about mental health and socioeconomic aspects. Report from the website UOL Educação explains that the Human Development Index (HDI), for example, was created by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as an initiative to contemplate other variables, such as social, cultural and political characteristics, which also influence the quality of human life.

WHO also highlights that the social and mental context has been greatly affected by the covid-19 pandemicso that it is normal and understandable to go through situations of fear, stress and worries. Added to this are the changes in routine caused by the pandemic, including the restrictions of movement to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Remote work, unemployment, online education, lack of contact with family and friends are some of the factors of this new reality. Therefore, the WHO recommends that mental health care is as important as physical health. A few tips on quality of life and mental health can help.

Check out tips on quality of life and mental health

A Fiocruz study showed that "anxiety and depression symptoms affect 47.3% of essential service workers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil and Spain. More than half of them - and 27.4% of the total respondents - suffer from anxiety and depression at the same time. In addition, 44.3% have abused alcoholic beverages; 42.9% have experienced changes in sleeping habits; and 30.9% have been diagnosed or treated for mental illness in the year prior to a survey coordinated by Fiocruz, and done in partnership with other institutions." Some tips, based on the General recommendations for Mental Health and Psychosocial Care in the Covid-19 Pandemicprepared by Fiocruz Brasilia, can help:

  • - Acknowledge and welcome fears by seeking out trusted people to talk to;
  • - Invest in exercises and actions that help reduce the level of stress, such as meditation, reading, breathing exercises, among other mechanisms that help situate the thought in the present moment;
  • - Ensure systematic breaks during work (if possible in a quiet, relaxing place) and between shifts;
  • - Reframe life plans and strategies, to continue producing plans in a way that is adapted to the conditions associated with the pandemic;
  • - Keep the social-affective network active, establishing contact, even if virtual, with relatives, friends and colleagues;
  • - Avoid using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to deal with emotions;
  • - Seek a health professional when the strategies used are not being enough for your emotional stabilization;
  • - Seek reliable sources of information;
  • - Reduce the time you spend watching or listening to media coverage;
  • - Stimulate the spirit of solidarity and encourage community participation.

The covid-19 pandemic has caused several impacts since it was declared in March 2020. The changes are behavioral, health, social, economic. It is difficult to identify an area of life that has not changed due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus. It could not be otherwise, in the face of so many alarming figures. On May 30, 2021, there were 16.4 million confirmed cases in Brazil and more than 461 thousand deaths, according to the panel Our World in Data.

In the economy, the Valor Econômico newspaper reports that the latest estimate from analysts consulted by the Central Bank is for a fall of 4.3% in Brazil's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020. This number is proportional to the impact estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the global economy, whose projection is that it has shrunk 4.4% last year. The IMF also points out that Brazil's unemployment rate grew from 11.9% in 2019 to 13.4% in 2020.

On the other hand, the impact caused by the covid-19 pandemic is not just about pandemic numbers or the economy. Lifestyles have changed. Home office has been adopted in many organizations, online learning has become a reality, travel has decreased, health care has redoubled. All of this can lead to another kind of impact, on mental health. A study by the University of Ottawa (Canada) concluded that "(...) the prevalence of insomnia reached 24%, post-traumatic stress disorder reached 22%, the incidence of depression stood at 16%, and anxiety at 15%", according to report in El País.

Impact

The numbers cause concern but also favor the emergence of several solidarity initiatives that aim to make a positive impact. Since the beginning of the pandemic, groups, institutions and companies have joined together to collect donations. They are directed to those most affected by the health emergency and promote actions that help overcome this moment. According to newspaper report in Estadão, searches for terms on "how to donate" grew 54% between February and March 2021, according to data from Google Trends.

A NGO Citizenship Action raised, between March 2020 and May 2021, R$ 83 million, 16,600 tons of food, distributed to over 6 million people. O collective funding site benfeitoria.com brings together various initiatives and conducts campaigns for the allocation of resources for these actions. So far, more than R$ 41 million has been mobilized by about 30,000 employees. And solidarity projects during the covid-19 pandemic do not live on donations of money and food alone. You can donate time, energy, work, support. Check out here list prepared by the Ecoa/UOL website and updated daily with information on how and to whom to donate.

Radiolife

In the case of Radiolife, making a positive impact was already among its core values, even before the covid-19 pandemic. In the dictionary, impact means "Effect that, by its force, prevents or brings about change", among other meanings. This is one of Radiolife's goals: to cause change.

An urgent change is to conduct diagnostic testing for covid-19 as a strategy to halt the spread of the virus. Reported by Jornal Nacional of 26 May warns that Brazil does not do enough tests for covid: "While Chile and Australia do more than 700 tests per thousand inhabitants, Brazil does only 149 tests in each group of one thousand people", says the report, based on figures from the platform Our World in Data. According to the article, in the United States, "the ratio is more than 1.3 thousand tests per thousand people, that is, there are people tested more than once".

"This is one of Radiolife's goals through Cube Scan. The equipment for diagnosis of covid-19 is under development in the company. We want to contribute to the creation of a habit of mass testing. This would include even asymptomatic people," explains one of the founders of the company, Sergio Schirmer.

Cube Scan is under development at Radiolife and as soon as it receives the authorizations from regulatory agencies, it will begin marketing. Learn more here.

Sources:

https://brasil.elpais.com/internacional/2020-12-24/estudo-confirma-impacto-da-pandemia-de-covid-19-sobre-a-saude-mental.html

https://valor.globo.com/coronavirus/a-economia-na-pandemia/

https://brasil.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,com-agravo-da-pandemia-saiba-como-fazer-doacao-para-ajudar-no-combate-a-fome,70003664435

https://saude.abril.com.br/bem-estar/16-iniciativas-inspiradoras-contra-o-coronavirus-que-dependem-de-doacoes/

https://benfeitoria.com/canal/rededeapoio

https://www.uol.com.br/ecoa/ultimas-noticias/2020/03/23/coronavirus-doacoes.htm

https://ourworldindata.org/

https://www.acaodacidadania.org.br/

https://g1.globo.com/jornal-nacional/noticia/2021/05/26/brasil-nao-faz-quantidade-s[…]nte-de-testes-para-covid-e-fica-atras-no-ranking-mundial.ghtml

Photo: Pixabay

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Many movies and books have already shown this reflection. The amount of liquid is the same, but the way you look at it is what makes the difference. According to some studies, facing life with positivity and optimism helps to be healthier, reduce stress and anxiety.

According to the Michaelis Online dictionary, positivity means "Attribute of what is positive"; "Favorable disposition of the person to constructive attitudes". Positivity is also frequently associated with optimism, which can be defined as "an abstract feeling, which refers to a positive look to the present and especially to the future, even in situations of extreme difficulty", according to story in Estadão.

Prevention

According to the site UOL Viva Bemin 2019, a study published by the journal JAMA Network Open revealed that people who identify themselves as optimistic have about a third less chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Also according to the publication, this does not mean that having positive attitudes is synonymous with curing diseases, but scientists explain that being optimistic makes the person be more inclined to have a healthier lifestyle, with exercise and outdoor activities, balanced diet and still avoiding vices harmful to health, such as alcohol consumption, drugs and smoking.

For the writer Heloisa Capelas, author of books like "Forgiveness - The Missing Revolution" and "Map of Happiness", negative thoughts tend to sabotage emotional, physical and mental health. That's why, she suggests to be important the attentive look to the state of mind and, in particular, the way you deal with obstacles.

Heloisa reminds us that positivity "does not mean being happy all the time, because that is almost impossible". According to her, in practice, it means that you belong to this world and can control how you react to different situations. "So you can understand that if something happens to you, it happens for a reason. So, if a bad or unpleasant situation arises, you will ask: what good does it do me? What does it teach me? This attitude, in itself, is already a way of practicing optimism and keeping pessimism at bay", explains Heloisa in article for the Catho website.

Positivity and optimism

Science has also pointed out that optimism and positivity can be cultivated. Radiolife has adopted positivity as one of its values and believes in the power of this habit. Here are some tips to develop it, according to neurosurgeon and neuroscientist Fernando Gomes, in article for Veja Saúde magazine:

  • Recognize a positive event in your life every day;
  • Identify personal qualities and observe how one makes use of them;
  • Set achievable goals and evaluate your progress;
  • Practice acts of kindness daily;
  • Say thank you.

 

Sources:
How Optimism Benefits Physical and Mental Health - Summit Health Today

Optimism and positivity are synonymous with health and longevity - Catho Online

Optimistic people are less likely to suffer from heart disease - UOL Live Well

How to train the brain to be optimistic (and healthy) - Veja Health Magazine

Image: Image by Engin Akyurt by Pixabay 

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