By B. Zarzur
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll upon all countries, though some more than others. For example; Brazil. The first cases of the virus were reported at the end of February, and in mid-March, more cases surfaced. Around two weeks into March 2020, most governors implemented "quarantine": malls, restaurants, local stores and schools closed their doors for an undetermined amount of time. Many people thought this would last a maximum of one month or a couple of weeks, but this was not the case. After around 3 months in quarantine, we would have thought the “hard times” passed. However, experts predict that this isn't even the beginning.
Let's lay out the facts:
As we can see from the events above, mid/late April was when it all came tumbling down. As if a pandemic wasn’t enough, political turmoil was now a factor. Since the beginning of march, President Bolsonaro was already losing popularity due to his opinions and denial of the situation. When there were disagreements about lockdown regulations, Luiz Henrique Mandetta (ex-health minister) was fired, making Brazil spiral into crisis.
A few days later, the Brazilian Justice minister, Sergio Moro, resigns and justifies it with the president’s interference in the affairs of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
The economic impacts that Brazil is suffering from the crisis are undeniable, and with the stocks plunging down, political disagreement poses further hardships.
In richer states like São Paulo, the crisis is being better handled, as resources are available and a stronger healthcare system is implemented. The problem, however, is when it comes to the poorer parts of brazil, or even the favelas of São Paulo.
For example, Paraisópolis, a sizeable favela in the south of Sao Paulo, with around 100,000 residents, has had a significant increase in COVID –19 deaths compared to the rest of the city. This is likely due to the lack of resources as well as living conditions.
Furthermore, the economic crisis is causing many to give in and break quarantine, as many people have chosen to risk damaging their health over damaging their wallets. Places like Amazonas and Acre have very few medical resources at hand, making it difficult to deal with the dire situation. In Manaus, the number of deaths has surpassed their capacity in cemetery graves, and they are now seeking other solutions.
These are only a few examples of what is happening in the outskirts of São Paulo and less equipped parts of Brazil. With a pandemic, political disagreements and a mass economic crisis, Brazil is on the verge and facing one of its worst crises in many years; and is found in a make it or break it situation.
“Brazil's Losing Battle against Covid-19.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, www.economist.com/the-americas/2020/05/28/brazils-losing-battle-against-covid-19.