Brazil’s losing battle against covid-19

Governors who want to enforce lockdowns face a fight with supporters of Brazil's president

5/29/2020 1:00:00 AM

Governors who want to enforce lockdowns face a fight with supporters of Brazil's president

The country entered the pandemic with some advantages. Because of Jair Bolsonaro it is squandering them

N1, covid-19 exploits Brazil’s weaknesses. Rich travellers brought the virus, but it is now concentrated in poor neighbourhoods like Paraisópolis, where people are packed together and have jobs without contracts or benefits. That makes social distancing hard. A monthly benefit of 600 reais ($110) introduced in April has helped millions of informal workers, but long queues of people unable to obtain it are still forming at banks.

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What makes social distancing harder is that Brazil’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, scoffs at the medical establishment and its advice. He has quarrelled with and lost two health ministers since the crisis began. His attitude to covid-19 resembles that of President Donald Trump: both tout hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that is useless against covid-19 and can be dangerous, according to a new study in the

Lancet.Mr Bolsonaro’s attitude causes more damage, however. Brazil’s federal system is more president-centred than America’s. To work well in a crisis, all levels of government must co-operate. Luiz Henrique Mandetta, Brazil’s health minister when the outbreak began, held daily meetings with state and municipal health secretaries to plan for getting and distributing money, tests and equipment to combat the pandemic. But after Mr Bolsonaro sacked him on April 16th those meetings ended. “The

SUSis a three-legged animal,” Mr Mandetta says. “If you cut off one of its legs, it starts to go in circles.”Rich states with relatively strong health systems are coping better. In the state of São Paulo co-ordination among municipal and state health agencies and the private sector helped open thousands of hospital beds, including in stadiums and convention centres. Even so, in the city more than 90% of intensive-care beds are occupied. Douglas Cardozo, an auxiliary nurse at Hospital do Campo Limpo, south of Paraisópolis, says that staff lack bodysuits and other necessities. At least 50 patients a day check in with covid-19 symptoms, he says. Two colleagues have died from it.

In poorer regions of Brazil the health system is buckling. Less than a month after the first covid case was reported on March 13th in Manaus, a city of 2m in the Amazon rainforest, the mayor said that its system had collapsed. A promised field hospital has failed to materialise and mass graves are being dug for victims, some of whom are dying on boats en route to the city.

The weaker the health system, the more it needs the protection of strict lockdowns. But Mr Bolsonaro has made these a wedge issue. He shows up at weekly protests in Brasília, the capital, against quarantines. Unlike in some European countries, Brazilians do not come to their front doors and windows to applaud health workers. Their covid clamour signals conflict. When Mr Bolsonaro says something incendiary, his fans drive around blasting car horns in approval while his critics bang pots and pans. In municipalities where support for Mr Bolsonaro is strong, adherence to social distancing is correspondingly weak, according to a recent paper by Nicolas Ajzenman, an economist, and two other authors.

This forces governors and mayors to fight on several fronts. Mr Bolsonaro mounted a legal challenge to their quarantine orders, which the Supreme Court rejected on April 15th. João Doria, the centre-right governor of São Paulo state, says that to implement a strict lockdown “would mean a clear confrontation with millions of Brazilians” who support Mr Bolsonaro. (Critics say he wants to avoid angering businessfolk.) Some Brazilians are merely confused. They ask themselves: “whom should I listen to, the governor or the president?” says Mr Doria.

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This adds to the economic and cultural forces that jam people together even as the president divides them. Just half in São Paulo are adhering to lockdown rules. To stop the virus’s spread 70% is needed, says the state’s government. On bustling Avenida Senador Teotônio Vilela on the city’s southern periphery more than 20 shoppers browse in a variety store, ducking in and out under half-lowered metal shutters. Reinildo Carneiro, a construction worker, donned a puppy-print mask and popped into a bar in Paraisópolis for a game of snooker. “You’re more vulnerable if you get depressed from staying at home,” he says. Beer kills the virus, he read on WhatsApp.

Mr Bolsonaro will not set him straight. His presidency is consumed by melodrama. In a two-hour video of a cabinet meeting released by the country’s Supreme Court and watched by millions of Brazilians, he gave himself over to unhinged and profanity-filled rants against police investigations of his sons but had little to say about protecting citizens from the pandemic. Widespread testing, a precondition for easing lockdowns safely, is not happening. By May 26th Brazil had processed fewer than 500,000 tests, just a tenth of the number acquired by the health ministry. Its testing rate is far lower than that of European countries and the United States.

Governors are yielding to pressure anyway. Mr Doria announced plans to begin opening parts of his state, including the city of São Paulo. At the city’s São Luis cemetery 3,000 fresh graves await covid-19 victims. Several hundred have been filled. The cemetery’s old average of 11 burials a day has jumped to more than 40, says a gravedigger. Most graves are covered with flowers but unmarked due to a backlog in engraving the plaques. A banner warns about Zika. None is needed for covid-19, says the gravedigger. “Once people lose a family member, they finally believe.”

■Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include more information about Mr Doria’s plans to open up parts of São Paulo state. Read more: The Economist »

Maybe now Balsanaro will take COVID-19 seriously. Désinformation totale ! Affligeant ! Blame it on China....yes, CHINA...Bolsonaro did not travel to Wuhan and did not create de CHINESE virus! Oh no realDonaldTrump . Looks like Brazil beat us by becoming the first country with a president that has covid. Come on there's still time, let's put America first.

What goes around comes around Sounds familiar Liars. Virus spreads on its pace in every country of the world. In Brazil, number of new cases are dramatically falling as well as new deaths. Biggest state capitals are reopening shops and new cases are still falling there. Disclosure: the graph is updated regularly

I hope he rots in hell 💔😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢. COVIDIDIOTS No no, Its just a flu. Coronavirus doesn't exists 😷 I have friends down there. A friend of min in Guayaquil tried to take his family to his farm in the country he was escorted back to his house at gun point. They still have the highest number of cases per capita and they shut down immediately.

'I told you so', Mr. Sambainyourlungs Trump is next Karma With that attitude, it was only a matter of time Communist tabloid. It will be difficult to tame the Covid-19 virus when large numbers of people are thwarting recommended important health safety procedures. I would remind everyone that 99% of the Titanic did not hit the iceberg.

bolsonarogenocidafascista Bolsonaro and Trump should quarantine together. Jair Bolsonaro is ignorant and incompetent. He continues to cause problems for Brazil and the world. It’s not joking 🙃!😷😷😷✍🏻take seriously!🙏 Another Trump. Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the best president of Brazil's history

In Peru which had to strongest lockdowns of SA, their death rate per capita is same as Brazil. People were faced with Covid or Starve. Sad. gerhardpfister This piece has more to do with propaganda about ideological opponents then about reality. What abt Xi Jinping?Oh, he’s corrupt leftist dictator the type you ID with! Now tell us abt the Ldrs from Hungary,Poland,right wingers,BAD!!

I regret to inform you, but Brazil is winning the war against covid-19. Check the current statistics, pls. Both are Death in suits! Lots of generalizations as always. We're losing the battle for now. Sadly politics stood in the way. We're counting corpses of our countrymen while some politicians and lunatics count the votes they'll get.

Both ways Brazil is gone lost. Lockdown and the economy cannot survive and without curfew style military lockdown people will not survive. It's a lose lose situation. And they aren't the only country Yellow journalism... Se causa mais danos porque é que os governadores mais 'quarentenísticos' estão com os maiores numeros de mortes pelo vírus chinês?

I wonder if like Mr Trump, YaBo also believes wind turbines cause cancer, and that climate change is a Chinese hoax. 'Communists' It’s the Governors, mayors and people saving the US and Not the president otheothe outcome would be the same RMafei conradohubner It is dangerous for right-wing nationalist nationalists to divide and divide their countries.

Fake News!!! Have you maybe not seen the riots and curfew and tanks on the streets? nobody cares Is this a peek into Africa, India and the rest of the developing world's covid-19 future? isnt that a thread with rightwing populism all over. Trump, ModiMadeDisaster i, BolsonaroReeeleito BorisFail Start working from home don't waste your time on monthly Paycheck when you can earn up to $16,500 every week through BINARY OPTIONS INVESTMENT you don't send your money to anyone ASK ME HOW ?

:( ... sad... ForaBolsonaroUrgente Fake News! Our Governors are the problem! fake news Twitter TwitterBrasil this kind of news affects Brazil's reputation abroad, will you let do that? Terrible Populist Where the hell you guys collect this kind of information? You are obsessed by fireing against Brasil and it’s president, I don’t understand the reason...

This is not the truth Oboi Bolsonaro é um genocida. O cara sabotou medidas de saúde, fez piadas, demitiu dois ministros no meio da pandemia. Quem apoia ele hoje tem sangue nas mãos dessas 26 mil mortes. E nenhuma religião vai salvar vocês da justiça de Deus. we cannot say for sure if the situation had been different we would have fewer cases / deaths !!! This is a hypothesis, the economy needs to continue !!!! The world cannot stop, one point and certain unemployment has a greater impact on society !!!

Can you prove this informacion? I m not sure that you can do ir? Mau__Mau__Jr_19 Well, and the world needs to know he's planning a coup d'etat. Bolsonaro Genocida! OutBolsoNERO! What do you write, yellow press? We are staying in center of Rio over 4 months with two small kids, walking on seaside without masks, swimming and there’s no overcrowded situation in hospitals, even in state ones! Food is so cheap, and clean like in Japan.

Brazilian democracy is extremely fragile at the moment. The president is threatening to close down the Supreme Court and imprisoning it’s judgedes to avoid investigation. Him and his government speak openly of a potential coup d’etat Inhago He is a shame to Brazil! Gleich dummes Brazil has 215M de inhabitants

Brazilian press has great bias Trump fechou a fronteira com o Brasil. Portanto, ele quer dizer que aqui a situação tá séria e que tem pandemia. Portanto, está contra o mito e é comunista. EUA comunista!!! Check your sources 😓😥😢 Bolsonaro has been a nightmare to the Brazilian people for a couple years now..didn’t he call the corona virus a media trick?

Now do Emmanuel Macron and France. The Economist, consistently and incessantly misinforming the World since 1843. Similar result. The perfectly characterize what is different between nationalism and patriotism. Both are nationalistic but neither are patriots because people do not matter to them. Did someone missed out on India

We're always losing that's what makes Brazil who it is TheEconomist a comunista The Economist já é comunista na Austrália Say nothing. You have no clue what you are talking about. Considering Brazil's death rates are substantially lower than the US's..... The Communist Brazil has 122 death per million people, 1/5th of places like UK, 1/8 of Belgium and 1/3 of what USA has so far, but gets the headlines that is “loosing the batlle” against covid because OMS, The Ecomunist don’t like Bolsonaro. Get lost...

We have The worst president in the whole world!!! The WHO declares every country with a conservative government the worst affected. Communist Tedrose ( head of the WHO) . He sees this whole Plandemic as a Marxist revolution. CarlosMoises Os estados que tiveram carnaval foram os piores, os governadores ao contrário da orientação decidiram pelo carnaval, e não pedem desculpas para população.

Os estados do Paraná, Minas Gerais, Goiás e Rio Grande estão dando um Show. Os de SP, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas , Ceará e amigos só sabem brigar por poder, e perderam o controle da pandemia.

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