On Monday evening, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree creating the Extraordinary Secretariat to Combat Covid-19. This new committee will be made up of members of the Health and Economy Ministries, and will be responsible for “proposing national guidelines and actions to implement health policies to tackle Covid-19, in coordination with state and municipal administrations.”
The creation of this secretariat comes 441 days after the coronavirus was first spotted in Brazil on February 25, 2020. Between then and now, the country has confirmed over 423,000 deaths and more than 15.2 million infections.
Experts agree that Mr. Bolsonaro’s leadership failures shoulder much of the blame for the sheer magnitude of Brazil’s crisis. His administration chose to stall negotiations with vaccine manufacturers, promote treatments with no proven efficacy against the virus, and spread coronavirus misinformation.
The Senate is currently investigating the government’s pandemic response by way of a hearings committee.