Explaining Brazil #104: Do the numbers even mean anything?

Despite Brazil updating Covid-19 figures every day, inconsistencies in the data have left policymakers in the dark over the real spread of the virus

Every day, members of the Health Ministry gather for a press conference to provide daily updates on coronavirus cases around the country. According to the latest briefing at the time of recording, Brazil had confirmed over 25,000 infections and over 1,500 deaths, with a lethality rate of 6.1 percent.

But despite these official numbers being used by the mainstream press all over the world, they don’t tell us much about the path of the virus in the country. In fact — no one really knows how many people have been infected by the coronavirus, nor how many have actually died of Covid-19, which makes any projection for the future little more than an educated guess. 

That is a major problem for Latin America’s largest country, because — to overcome the crisis, we first need to know what exactly we are facing.

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Background reading:

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.

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