Christ the Redeemer feeling the chill

Brazil isn’t best suited to cold weather, even at the best of times. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees Celsius, residents of the country’s biggest cities dig out their bomber jackets and leg warmers to brave the “chill.”

But, for the first winter in some time, Brazilians are fully justified in donning their hats and scarves. Thermometers have dipped below zero in several cities over recent weeks, causing concern for the country’s homeless population, as well as agricultural producers.

Parts of the South and Southeast recorded their coldest days of the year this week, with the Santa Catarina city of Urupema seeing temperatures drop to -8 degrees Celsius.

In normal times, such a cold snap could come as a boost to the tourism industry, with Brazilians in the Southeast adoring a countryside getaway to the myriad little towns billing themselves as Brazil’s answer to Finland, Austria, or the Swiss Alps. But lingering coronavirus fears have put paid to any hopes of a domestic travel boom.

However, after the winter comes spring, and there is reason for optimism in Brazil. Vaccination campaigns are charging on at a healthy pace, with over 45 percent of the population receiving at least one dose so far.

By the time flowers begin to bloom in late September, there is hope that the country’s immunization scenario will look a lot brighter, and Brazil may begin to return to some form of normalcy.

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