If you have been keeping up with our weekly cartoons, you’ll be aware that President Jair Bolsonaro has transformed Brazil into a tragic cautionary tale of how not to lead a country during a global pandemic. That said, the disaster was taken even further this last week, with the government mishandling and concealing key Covid-19 data. On June 7, the government published two drastically different death counts for the 24 hours prior: first reporting 1,382 deaths, and then just 525 an hour later. NGO Transparency Brazil says that the recent data tampering and omission by President Jair Bolsonaro’s government could be an impeachable offense and a crime — for going against laws guaranteeing access to public information and emergency health measures.
According to both the president and the interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, “everything that has been said in the last few days will be explained and I am sure that the population will adopt this coronavirus counting method.” However, if the government follows the script on which it has been basing its decisions since the pandemic began, we may never know what caused the disparity.
The Brazilian press strikes back
The opaque data shared by the government has once again united the Brazilian press, bringing big hitters G1, O Globo, Extra, Estadão, Folha, and UOL together in a collective task force to find and publish reliable Covid-19 data.
The joint effort from these media outlets will collect data from state-level health authorities and publish them at around 8 pm, in time for nightly newscasts. Previously, the government had delayed its daily statistics until late at night, when the news had finished and people had already gone to bed. A Supreme Court decision has ordered the administration to cease this dishonest practice.