“Outside, Bolsonaro!” Your “little flu” has killed 40,000 people so far. On Sunday afternoon, on Paulista Avenue in São Paulo, a popular trade route of the Brazilian megalopolis, a banner was unfolded on the asphalt, visible from the air by drone, to expose the demand to the world. Brazilian journalist Bruno Torturra seized the moment, which quipped how the Brazilian president tried to downplay the importance of the coronavirus at the start of the health crisis, to share it on his Twitter account.
If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress around the world, Brazil is sinking further and further into its erratic management of the emergency, having crossed the symbolic barrier of 40,000 dead last week (43,332 as of Monday), just three months after the first death recorded in this country, on March 17.
The Portuguese-speaking country of South America is now the second most affected country, just behind the United States (116,000), of course, but now ahead of the United Kingdom (42,000), the Italy (34,000), France (29,500), Spain (27,000), Mexico (17,000) and Belgium (9,500), where COVID-19 resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, aged for most.
And mathematical projections made by the Institute for Health Research at the University of Washington indicate that Brazil is preparing, at this rate, to take the lead in this grim track record from July 29, with a fatal prospect of 137,000 dead, 94,000 more to come, in just one month and two weeks.
“It’s an incredibly sad tragedy,” Duty Brazilian researcher Sean Burges of Carleton University in Ottawa said on Monday. The state of COVID-19 in Brazil is an absolute disaster that was completely predictable, based on the rate of infections and mortality on which there is consensus. “
In early June, Jair Bolsonaro, right-wing populist at the head of the country, ordered the end of the publication of official data on COVID-19 in Brazil, a decision overturned last week by the country’s Supreme Court. Since then, the president of the highest judicial institution, José Antonio Dias Toffoli, has faced threats and intimidation from supporters and relatives of Bolsonaro. Education minister in the Bolsonaro government, Abraham Weintraub, on Sunday said the judges responsible for the decision were “assholes”. Last April, with the same poetry, the minister had expressed his intentions towards the justice of his country by saying: “If it was up to me, I would throw all these assholes in prison, starting with those of the Supreme Court. “
“The WHO considers the transmission of COVID-19 in Brazil to be out of control,” says Burges, which means that the flattening of the curve is simply impossible to predict. Brazil could therefore end up achieving “collective immunity” the hard and catastrophic way. And the reason the disease is raging in this country is largely due to the fact that Bolsonaro just doesn’t seem to care, because the country has ample capacity to deal with a crisis like this. “
Monday, a global survey commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies, in preparation for its summit in Copenhagen on Thursday on the future of democracies during the pandemic, places Brazil at the bottom of the list of 53 countries in which citizens have assessed the management of the crisis by their elected representatives. A third of Brazilians approve of Bolsonaro’s attitude, which more or less corresponds to his political base in this country, where the temptation to dictate is still very strong. Authoritarian regimes, China, Vietnam, lead the way with 95% approval of actions taken. The United States is also at the bottom of the list, with 53% of support.
Since the start of the crisis, Bolsonaro has fired two health ministers in a row, to replace them with a supporter of his policies without medical or scientific training.
“There is currently no one responsible for a concerted, coherent and reasoned national response to the pandemic,” said Mr. Burges. However, the disease has moved from the upper middle classes to a larger population. As it continues to spread through the poorest two-thirds of the population, its effects are likely to be devastating. “
According to him, the peaks in mortality will be attributable to the disease, but also to the lack of social programs to help people bear the economic restrictions necessary to fight COVID-19. “The people most affected are, for the most part, not supporters of Bolsonaro, which means that they are politically classified as enemies and almost appear to be treated as such,” said Burges.