Pandemic or economic collapse: are these Brazil’s only choices?

While the President prioritizes the economy, and state governments focus on public health, experts show there is a middle ground

Pandemic or economic collapse: are these Brazil's only choices?
Popular shopping mall closed for sanitization. Photo: Lúcio Bernardo Jr/Agência Brasília

Over the past few days, public debate in Brazil has been dominated by a conundrum created by the Covid-19 pandemic: should the country agree with state governors and drive its economy into recession to contain the spread, or should Brazil follow President Jair Bolsonaro and accept the casualties as inevitable side effects to save the economy. Neither side seems to be open to a middle-of-the-road solution.

The argument we explained on March 25 grew stronger after Brazil’s Central Bank presented a chart hoping to “prove” that stricter containment measures would cause the steepest economic downturn the country could face....

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