Brazilians respond to government Covid-19 data tampering

Brazilians responds to government tampering with Covid-19 data
Photo: Bushko Oleksandr/Shutterstock

While underreporting has been a constant issue in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic, the Health Ministry now seems to be taking active steps to hide Covid-19 data. For two days in a row, the government has opted to release its daily update after nightly newscasts have finished over. After shutting down its Covid-19 platform for several hours, the ministry redesigned it to only showcase new cases, deaths, and recoveries — but not the total tallies.

In response to these unexplained changes, different public actors have come together to maintain transparency in Brazil. TV Globo, the country’s leading news channel, is interrupting its programming to release the numbers whenever they become public — even if it is late at night.

A group of 40 Brazilian programmers, however, took a different approach. They created an online platform similar to the one originally put together by the ministry. Using data from all 27 local health secretariats, Brasil.IO provides detailed information on the pandemic in Brazil, showcasing the numbers and trends the government has been trying to hide.

The platform is not new. It has been around since the beginning of the pandemic, and is part of an initiative to present “public data in an accessible way.” The group also highlights trends in government spending, elections, and environmental indicators.

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