A tense first round of the Covid hearings committee

The first session of the Covid hearings laid bare some of the tactics that will be used over the next 90 days

Senate Covid hearings committee Bolsonaro
Senators pay tribute to Brazil’s almost 400,000 confirmed coronavirus fatal victims. Photo: Jefferson Rudy/SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0

In the martial art of muay thai, fighters often do not know their opponent before they face off. The opening rounds are typically tight affairs, with each fighter studying the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Meanwhile, in MMA, fights are often scheduled weeks or months in advance, rules are at a minimum, and the two competitors go straight at each other’s throats from the opening bell. In the first session of the Brazilian Senate’s hearings committee to investigate the government’s pandemic response, the battle lay somewhere in between these two extremes: neither cagey and measured, nor an all-out slugfest.

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