Explaining Brazil #100: 20 rough weeks ahead

Brazil has recorded its first Covid-19 death, and cases are growing exponentially. Authorities warn it will get much worse before it gets any better

The first time we talked specifically about the coronavirus outbreak was in late January. We spoke to Rosana Richtmann, one of Brazil’s leading infectious disease experts, and she told us how Brazil could escape from a major public health crisis.

Dr. Richtmann’s analysis was made in a very different reality. After that episode, Brazil would not record a single infection for another month. Cases in Europe were still in the dozens. So, a lot has changed since.

Brazil has seen its number of cases jump from 3 to over 300 in less than three weeks. Even the president might be infected. And still … he acts as if nothing was going on. Jair Bolsonaro has called the Covid-19 crisis a fantasy created by the corporate media—and has done everything in his power to undermine his own administration’s effort to contain the spread.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister has given a warning: if you live in Brazil, brace yourself for a “rough 20 weeks ahead.”

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Background reading:

  • The Brazilian Report has launched a live blog to follow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Brazil. It will be used to provide, on a daily basis, public-interest information about the developments of the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil. If you have doubts about the issue, do not hesitate to write to us at [email protected].
  • Is Brazil’s healthcare system prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic? Lucas Berti answers.
  • All Brazilian states have suspended classes in public schools. The move, however, could spark a hunger crisis
  • Is recession inescapable? Listen to Episode #99.
  • In our March 18 Daily Briefing, economist Daniel Duque makes a case for a universal basic income policy as a palliative measure for the looming crisis (for premium supporters).

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. Euan is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

Do you have a suggestion for our next Explaining Brazil podcast? Drop us a line at [email protected]

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