Numbers of the week: Mar. 21, 2020

. Mar 21, 2020
minister deaths war covid-19 Brazil by the Numbers oil bolsonaro energy bhp country risk marielle poverty rio currency amazon paraisópolis xp 2019 inflation nazi imf coronavirus carnival Iron ore femicides coronavirus deaths

This is Brazil by the Numbers, a weekly digest of the most interesting figures tucked inside the latest news about Brazil. A selection of numbers that help explain what is going on in Brazil. This week’s topic is, of course, the different ways in which the novel coronavirus has impacted our country.

Send any suggestions to

1,020 coronavirus infections, 18 deaths


Health Ministry has confirmed at least 1,020 Covid-19 infections in Brazil. The cases are spread across every Brazilian state—with the exception of Roraima in the North. So far, 18 deaths have been linked to the novel coronavirus. Unsurprisingly, Brazil&#8217;s two biggest metropolitan regions São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have concentrated the bulk of infections—and all deaths. But the virus is spreading fast in the country, which has not shown the capacity nor the means to promote widespread testing in order to assess the real number of cases. “We have [regions] with no infections. Is that because no one has been infected there, or are we missing something?” said Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta this week.</p> <p><em>These numbers have been updated on March 21, 2020, at 1:40 pm.</em></p> <p><a href="">Follow our Covid-19 coverage</a>.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/1921655" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>22 people close to the president&nbsp;</h2> <p>Two weeks ago, President Jair Bolsonaro made an official trip to the U.S. to sign a military deal and have dinner with his American counterpart, Donald Trump. So far, 22 people who in the Brazilian delegation have tested positive for Covid-19. The first was Press Secretary Fábio Wajngarten. On Friday, the president confirmed four more cases within his entourage—including Sérgio Segovia, head of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), and foreign policy advisor Filipe Martins. Mr. Bolsonaro, however, said on social media he twice tested negative for the virus.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>158,452 fewer beneficiaries</h2> <p>Despite the promise to expand <a href="">cash-transfer program Bolsa Família</a> to cushion the economic downturns of the Covid-19 outbreak, the initiative actually had 158,452 fewer beneficiary families in March. Two-thirds of them are located in the Northeast, Brazil&#8217;s poorest region. The government says 185,000 joined the program, while another 330,000 &#8220;emancipated&#8221; themselves, presumably by increasing their monthly income. Bolsa Família reaches families with per capita monthly income of BRL 178 (USD 35). Cícero Péricles, a Ph.D. in social economics whose research centers around Bolsa Família, says the move could entail a serious poverty crisis. &#8220;While countries are widening social protections, Brazil shrinks its most-effective anti-poverty program,&#8221; <a href="">he told </a><em><a href="">UOL</a></em>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>410 nationals repatriated from Peru</h2> <p>Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement announcing the repatriation of 410 Brazilian tourists currently in Peru. They were detained in Lima and Cuzco when the Peruvian government decided to close the borders. Special flights are scheduled for Friday in a joint operation between the Brazilian Embassy in Lima and airlines Latam and Gol. On Thursday (19), the Brazilian government said there are currently 3,770 Brazilians in Peru.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>500,000-plus families&nbsp;</h2> <p>The São Paulo state government will suspend water bills for 500,000-plus low-income families. The decision will be enforced in April and will be valid for 90 days. Per Governor João Doria, the benefit will reach families currently eligible for existing discounts offered by state-owned water utility company Sabesp. Meanwhile, stocks of Sabesp traded in São Paulo extended their losses, down 9.7 percent at the time of publishing.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>15 days</h2> <p>Brazil has <a href="">shut down its borders</a> and restricted the entry of citizens from Europe and Asia for 30 days. Brazilians abroad will be allowed to return home, and the transport of goods will be maintained. However, the decision has not affected the U.S., where cases are jumping rapidly—and the government is being accused of poorly handling the crisis.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 60 billion</h2> <p>The U.S. Federal Reserve has announced a new program to <a href="">provide funds for other central banks</a>—including USD 60 billion to Brazil—in an attempt to improve liquidity and stabilize markets. On Friday, the U.S. Dollar closed the day valued at BRL 5.0640.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 100 billion</h2> <p>Brazil-China bilateral trading amounts to USD 100 billion—and the Asian giant is the destination of 28 percent of all Brazilian exports. That didn&#8217;t sway Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro—President Jair Bolsonaro’s third-eldest son—from attacking Beijing, blaming the Xi Jinping government for the Covid-19 spread. Through its official Twitter account, the Chinese Embassy in Brasília called his words “irresponsible,” and demanded an “immediate retraction”—which came from House Speaker Rodrigo Maia. Then, on Friday, supporters of the president placed offensive signs in front of the embassy, calling Xi a &#8220;<a href="">son of bitch</a> (sic).&#8221;&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>17 impeachment requests</h2> <p>The House of Representatives currently has <a href="">17 impeachment requests pending against Jair Bolsonaro</a>. Speaker Rodrigo Maia—who has the power to start or shelve proceedings—said he will not take any action that could hamper how Brazil deals with the coronavirus outbreak. But the pressure is mounting against the president, who sees his support base erode and public trust in government lower rapidly.

Read the full story NOW!

Lucas Berti

Lucas Berti covers international affairs — specialized in Latin American politics and markets. He has been published by Opera Mundi, Revista VIP, and The Intercept Brasil, among others.

Our content is protected by copyright. Want to republish The Brazilian Report? Email us at