Samba schools join the Covid-19 effort

samba schools masks

Rio de Janeiro samba schools have joined forces, mobilizing their seamstresses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks and aprons to supply healthcare professionals. Beija Flor, a school located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, is producing between 1,200 and 1,500 facemasks per week — and has donated food and cleaning supplies to lower-income communities.

The effort by samba schools comes at a critical time, as Covid-19 is already spreading through favelas — with the first deaths in these communities being recorded last week. Often poorly urbanized and densely populated, these favelas can become veritable petri dishes for the coronavirus. Census data shows that in poorer areas, the number of households where 2-plus people share the same room makes social distancing impossible.

Brazil has yet to reach a peak in its coronavirus’ infection curve, and mortality rates are likely to be much higher among peripheral populations — who have limited access to healthcare, basic sanitation, and proper nutrition, placing them among risk groups.