Coronavirus

Between a rock and a hard place, Bolsonaro favors economy over health

While the World Health Organization pleads for isolation and lockdown, Bolsonaro wants to send people back to work, with one eye on GDP performance

Between a rock and a hard place, Bolsonaro favors economy over health
Brasília’s central bus terminal. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

Addressing the nation on Tuesday evening, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro complained that the country “must return to normality,” speaking out against nationwide isolation measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, urging people to get back to work and for schools to resume lessons. This discourse is obedient to U.S. President Donald Trump’s line that “the cure must not be worse than the problem,” which suggests that Brazil and the U.S. will engage in a balancing act between human life and the economy.

One of the justifications for this line of thinking is that a Covid-19-induced recession would create its own...

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