According to data submitted by Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes on Friday, the government earmarked a total of BRL 128 billion (USD 24.37 billion) in pandemic spending for this year — almost 80 percent less than the outlay for 2020.
While Brazil is largely enjoying some respite from its Covid-19 fight thanks to increased vaccination levels, the budget disparity remains surprising, considering that the deadliest months of the pandemic came earlier this year. In fact, by May 2021, Brazil had already exceeded the total number of coronavirus deaths recorded throughout the entirety of last year.
Mr. Guedes attempted to explain away the difference in pandemic spending by saying that the Health Ministry received more funding in 2021. While this is true, the department’s budget increased by less than 12 percent from 2020 to now, and only 48 percent of the total has actually been paid out.