A shocking image for shocking times. Not only has the coronavirus killed over 205,000 Brazilians since the beginning of the pandemic, but a brutal second wave is on the horizon, thanks in part to the end-of-year holidays. It seems that, even with all the risks involved, a large chunk of the Brazilian population just couldn’t resist seeking sun and sand at the New Year.
Indeed, on the whole, Brazil’s citizens have rarely had to reckon with the true severity of the Covid-19 pandemics. Lockdowns that were put in place were ineffective, poorly enforced, and largely ignored by the percentage of the population that simply had to continue working. This half-hearted attempt to fight the pandemic gave rise to denialism, with President Jair Bolsonaro’s derision of social distancing and mask use gaining traction among a large part of Brazil.
Indeed, in the final days of 2020, the country gifted us with crowded beaches, parks, bars, and restaurants. And it is believed the vast majority of the population ignored restrictions and held traditional family gatherings at Christmas and New Year.
The result? A second wave of cases and deaths, set to surpass the peaks recorded in mid-2020.
And President Bolsonaro is leading by example. The head of state has consistently ignored the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and has done little personally to safeguard the population – many of whom, in turn, are being equally reckless.
Instead, the far-right Brazilian president has been doing everything he can to go against science, recommending antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure to Covid-19, despite any scientific evidence.
Indeed, the New Year has just begun, but 2020’s problems still persist.