President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters on Wednesday morning that he intends to adopt a “vertical isolation” strategy against the coronavirus. That approach focuses on only isolating clusters of the population that are more likely to die or suffer severe damage from Covid-19: senior citizens, those with pre-existing conditions, or autoimmune problems.
Just like U.S. President Donald Trump, Mr. Bolsonaro has positioned himself adamantly against the “horizontal isolation” approach currently employed by many countries around the world—in which governments restrict movement and commerce of the entire population, without discriminating according to risk.
He said governors who have put their states under quarantine—such as presidential hopefuls João Doria (São Paulo) and Wilson Witzel (Rio de Janeiro)—are “committing a crime” by closing stores. These two states concentrate most infections and all but two of the country’s 48 deaths. The president has a conference call scheduled with governors of the Southeast—which include Messrs. Doria and Witzel. It is hard to imagine an atmosphere of trust and cooperation developing between them.
Mr. Bolsonaro believes that Brazil “should get back to normal” and fears that a dip in the economy might collapse his administration. On Tuesday, Brasília correspondent Brenno Grillo confirmed with four independent sources that impeachment negotiations have already begun in the capital (read now, for premium subscribers).