Numbers of the week: Mar. 28, 2020

. Mar 28, 2020
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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 topics: Covid-19, the number of confirmed cases and deaths, President Bolsonaro’s bizarre statements, the government’s reaction, G20’s trillionaire rescue, repatriation in Peru, “vertical” isolation, state governors against the president.  

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3,417 confirmed infections, 92 deaths

On Friday

evening, the Health Ministry released the latest <a href="">update</a> of the spread of the novel coronavirus in Brazil. So far, the country has recorded 3,417 confirmed cases and 92 deaths. This week, Brazil registered its first deaths outside of the Southeast region: in Rio Grande do Sul (South), Pernambuco (Northeast), and Amazonas (North). Covid-19 lethality rate in Brazil is currently at 2.7 percent — way below Italy (7.2 percent) but above China&#8217;s (2.3 percent).</p> <p>However, limited testing and challenges in assigning causes of death mean that the number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths in Brazil may not be accurate.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/1711976"><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 5 trillion</h2> <p>After a video-conference summit, G20 leaders announced that they will inject USD 5 trillion into the global economy to reduce the economic impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. President Jair Bolsonaro and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo represented Brazil and stood as outliers in their view on how to confront the virus. Unlike Mr. Bolsonaro, other G20 leaders have supported strict isolation measures — disproving Mr. Araújo&#8217;s statement on Twitter this week, suggesting that all G20 countries are going “in the same direction as President Jair Bolsonaro.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>74 cases per 1 million inhabitants</h2> <p>All five of Brazil’s macroregions now have at least one fatal victim of the novel coronavirus. And while São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — Brazil’s two largest metropolitan areas — concentrate the bulk of cases, the city of Fortaleza in the Northeast has leapfrogged them both to lead in cases per 1 million people. Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said it remains uncertain whether the increase in the number of infections per capita is related to a well-oiled local health system more capable of testing patients than other regions, or if “something different is happening” in the northeastern state.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/1689413"><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1,300 people</h2> <p>The planes responsible for bringing home Brazilians stranded in Cuzco are already in Peru. After a technical landing in Rondônia, the aircraft will leave to São Paulo, the mission’s final destination. The total operation involves the rescue of 1,300 people and is led by both the Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries. The decision happened after the Peruvian government decided in favor of a complete lockdown, which closed borders.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>27 governors, 0 presidents</h2> <p><a href="">Governors</a> from all 27 Brazilian states held a video-conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic — without President Jair Bolsonaro. The information was released by São Paulo Governor João Doria, who had a heated exchange with Mr. Bolsonaro in a meeting earlier in the week. Mr. Doria, who is presidential hopeful, reported he received death threats due to his arguments with the president. On Twitter, <a href="">bot accounts</a> in support of President Bolsonaro propelled a hashtag demanding Mr. Doria&#8217;s impeachment.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>5,500 projected deaths by April</h2> <p><em>The Intercept</em> Brazil revealed a <a href="">confidential intelligence briefing</a> produced by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency warning the government and state administrations of a potentially catastrophic scenario for the country in the upcoming weeks, with deaths and infections skyrocketing. Using the cases of Italy, <a href="">China</a>, and Iran as a baseline, the brief says Brazil could reach April 6 with over 207,000 infections and nearly 5,600 deaths from Covid-19. President Bolsonaro has said, time and again, that governments’ concerns about the lethality of the novel coronavirus are exaggerated.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>60-plus only</h2> <p>Jair Bolsonaro believes that <a href="">only citizens in high-risk groups</a> for Covid-19 — people aged 60 and over, or people with pre-existing conditions and autoimmune diseases — should be isolated. For the rest of the country, &#8220;life must go back to normal,&#8221; he urged. Even U.S. President Donald Trump, after whom Mr. Bolsonaro emulates many of his stances, has backpedaled in his hands-off approach. The official White House Twitter account urged Americans to continue practicing social distancing. &#8220;By staying home, you are saving lives,&#8221; said the U.S. government.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-twitter wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you to the American People for continuing to practice social distancing. <br><br>By staying home, you are saving lives. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; The White House (@WhiteHouse) <a href="">March 26, 2020</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script> </div></figure> <p>Still, the Brazilian president positioned himself adamantly against the “horizontal&#8221; approach to isolation currently employed by many countries around the world, by which governments restrict movement and commerce of the entire population, without discriminating according to risk.

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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.

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