On top of imposing a massive death toll, unprecedented economic recession, and a possible “job apocalypse,” the pandemic has once again squeezed Brazil between its two major trading partners — China and the U.S. Marching on to become the world’s undisputed Covid-19 epicenter, the biggest market in Latin America is now a battleground for superpowers’ coronavirus diplomacy — that is, the use of health cooperation to enhance countries’ influence in the global scene.
A couple of weeks ago, the city of São Paulo received 30,000 protective face masks from authorities in the Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen. The supply was used to provide health workers with protective gear in the city with the highest number of Covid-19 cases (73,000) and deaths (8,800). Prior to that, the city had received donations from the Shanghai government and the Bank of China — getting 50,000 masks from each. These actions of cooperation are part of the Asian giant’s efforts to change perceptions of its handling of the pandemic.