Brazil’s interim Health Minister speaks. We selected the key points

Brazil's interim Health Minister speaks. We selected the key points
Eduardo Pazuello. Photo: Marcos Côrrea/PR

After Brazil topped 2 million cases and 75,000 deaths, the interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello — who has held this ‘temporary’ post for two months — gave an exclusive interview to weekly magazine Veja. He tried to respond to mounting criticism of the government’s botched coronavirus response, including a comment by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes that the Army is associating itself with a “genocide.”

Here are the key points of the interview:

Gilmar Mendes. In response to Justice Mendes’s accusation that the government’s Covid-19 policies amounted to “genocide” and that the military deserves much of the blame, Gen. Pazuello claimed he had talked things over in a civilized fashion with the justice — who is currently in Portugal — and that he didn’t take the comment personally.

“Deep State.” Responding to criticisms of the government’s handling of the pandemic, Mr. Pazuello declared that “besides the pandemic, the government is simultaneously fighting another war against a less visible enemy, one that is much harder to vanquish: the establishment.” The minister here was referring to the groups that controlled public administration for decades and supposedly captured these institutions in ways that go far beyond traditional corruption schemes.

  • This ‘deep state” is, according to Gen. Pazuello, apparently responsible for the rumors of his imminent dismissal, sabotaging the Health Ministry’s coronavirus response and spreading doubts about the government’s handling of the crisis.

Democracy. Mr. Pazuello declared that there is “zero threat” to democracy in Brazil and that the real war is against corruption and those that have “co-opted the state.” The continued demonstrations both for and against the government are evidence that Brazilian democracy is healthy, said the Health Minister.

The interim minister on the pandemic

Current state of the spread. The interim Health Minister claimed that it was impossible to speak about the situation as a whole due to the regional disparities in Brazil. He claimed that “the cycle is being concluded in the North and Northeast regions” — recent data, however, points in the other direction, with both regions recording more daily deaths recently.

  • Mr. Pazuello also said it is possible for the pandemic to end this year. Cases in the Southeast region have “plateaued” and the pandemic has now spread to the North region where it is moving to the interior of the area. He claimed that “by September we will have lowered the curve to the level of a common respiratory syndrome.”

Medication. Eduardo Pazuello also lambasted his predecessors, claiming Luiz Henrique Mandetta’s advocacy for social isolation was misguided, as he was now aware of the medications and preventive measures that the government has to treat the disease.

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