Half of Brazilians believe the pandemic will outlast 2022

pandemic omicron brazil
Anti-Bolsonaro voters are more pessimistic about the outlook of the pandemic. Photo: Thales Antonio/Shutterstock

The spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Brazil has been boosted by people’s pessimism regarding the future of the pandemic. According to a new poll by PoderData, only 38 percent of Brazilians think the Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2022. Meanwhile, 47 percent think the health crisis will continue until 2023, at least.

The split somewhat respects party lines. Supporters of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — who has been labeled a Covid denier — are the most optimistic about the pandemic’s outlook, with only 35 percent believing the coronavirus crisis will outlast 2022. Among those who deem him as a “bad” or “terrible” president, however, the rate jumps to 52 percent.

Brazil, like other Latin American countries, is braced for a new wave of infections — with local governments afraid a spurt in cases will cause renewed saturation of health services. Roughly 2,100 Brazilian municipalities asked the federal administration for help setting up infrastructure for testing and outpatient care.

In Rio de Janeiro alone, local health authorities say 68 percent of coronavirus samples collected involve the Omicron variant. In São Paulo, local health authorities said half of the new cases tested positive for the new mutation. 

Besides the Omicron surge, Brazil is experiencing an unusual summertime flu epidemic — which adds to the burden on hospitals. Those factors combined led to a rush for lateral flow tests from patients with flu-like symptoms across the country and created shortages. Moreover, the country’s ability to accurately monitor the pandemic’s progression has been hampered by data inconsistencies observed since mid-December, when the Health Ministry systems were hacked.