Brazil might be the worst hit country by the Covid-19 pandemic in the world. As of writing, the country has 850,796 cases and recorded 42,791 deaths, though the real figures are likely to be significantly higher. The situation is so bleak that the government tried to hide the total number of cases and deaths on its official online dashboard. When asked about the missing numbers, President Jair Bolsonaro joked that it would make news organizations “run out of subjects to talk about.” While the crisis still has no end in sight and we may well be stuck in this half-life of social distancing and fear for years, it has not stopped many from speculating about what type of society will emerge out of this pandemic.
At the beginning of the global coronavirus crisis, back in March — another lifetime ago — many speculated that Covid-19 might prove to be a global wakeup call: governments would return to science-based policy, regulate unfettered markets, invest properly in healthcare, take the environmental crisis seriously, and intervene to reduce inequality. After all, what was the risk of being optimistic?