Numbers of the week: May 30, 2020

. May 30, 2020
Brazil’s economic problems beyond the pandemic

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: the numbers of cases and deaths, Brazil’s economic problems beyond the pandemic, Bolsonaro’s closest lawmakers hit by an anti-fake news investigation, nurses unprepared to fight the virus, President Bolsonaro’s worst Datafolha performance, the pandemic job apocalypse, Brazil celebrated by the UN, the government seeking international resources, São Paulo’s reopening plan

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27,878 deaths, 465,166 cases 

Brazil has registered 1,000-plus coronavirus deaths over the past four days, with 1,124 new casualties and 26,928 new infections on Friday alone.

The total tally is now at 465,166 cases and 27,878 deaths, making Brazil the country with the fifth-highest number of casualties worldwide after it passed Spain. Among all Latin American nations, only Ecuador has more confirmed deaths per 1 million people than Brazil (187 against 125, respectively).</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2487272" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2487435" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1.5-percent drop</h2> <p>According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, Brazil’s GDP dropped by 1.5 percent in Q1 2020 from the previous quarter, in line with market projections. The not-so-great contraction reflects the fact that the coronavirus arrived in Brazil later, with the first confirmed case only being recorded on February 26. But the future looks grim: the International Monetary Fund expects the Brazilian economy to shrink 6.1 percent in 2020.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>8 lawmakers linked to a fake news ring</h2> <p>The Brazilian Federal Police carried out a series of search and seizure operations against an alleged <a href="">far-right fake news ring</a>. Besides conservative activists, influencers, and prominent businessmen — eight lawmakers are among those being investigated and have been summoned to testify. The case could possibly result in the ousting of President Jair Bolsonaro, as the investigation is looking into how the suspects might have illegally funded campaign actions for Mr. Bolsonaro in 2018.</p> <p>Allies of the president including Education Minister Abraham Weintraub compared the operation Kristallnacht, the infamous Nazi pogrom targeting Jews. Martyrdom aside, reporter Brenno Grillo <a href="">broke down the legal issues</a> with the case.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>65 percent of health workers don&#8217;t feel &#8220;ready&#8221; for the coronavirus</h2> <p>A <a href="">study</a> by think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas with 1,500 professionals of health workers shows that 65 percent of them don’t feel “ready” to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The research also points out that insecurity is higher among community health workers — as only 20 percent have received sufficient personal protective equipment. Brazil has already recorded at least 137 coronavirus deaths among nurses — more than any other country.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>43 percent reject the president</h2> <p>According to the latest survey by pollster Datafolha, 43 percent of Brazilian voters disapprove of the Jair Bolsonaro administration. It is the <a href="">highest rejection rate</a> since he took office, in January 2019. The number of people who see Mr. Bolsonaro’s performance as “good” or “great,” however, has remained steady at 33 percent. Voters who classify the government as “O.K.” amount to 22 percent, down from 26 percent in April’s poll.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2609233" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 4 billion in loans</h2> <p>Brazil’s Treasury Secretary announced on Wednesday that the government is seeking around <a href="">USD 4 billion in loans</a> from international financial organizations to support the implementation of cash transfer programs in the country. According to the government, these additional resources would be used mainly to support the <a href="">BRL 600 national emergency aid program</a>, established at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>4.9 million jobs lost</h2> <p>A record 4.9 million Brazilians lost their jobs <a href="">between February and April</a>, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to 12.6 percent, as measured by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. The figures echo a previous announcement by the Economy Ministry that 1.1 million formal jobs had been closed between January and April. It is estimated that another 3.7 million <a href="">informal jobs</a> were also destroyed, contributing to a total rise of 5.2 percent in the number of unemployed Brazilians.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>2nd decorated officer</h2> <p>The United Nations decorated a Brazilian military officer who worked in a peacekeeping mission in Haiti (Minustah) for excellence. Carla Monteiro Araújo is the second member of the Brazilian Army to receive such an honor. The 15 years of Brazilian intervention in the Caribbean country, however, left behind a <a href="">highly controversial legacy</a>, as <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> showed.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>June 1 reopening</h2> <p>The government of São Paulo state will begin the gradual reopening of Brazil’s biggest economy from <a href="">June 1</a>, but stricter isolation measures could be adopted if the Covid-19 situation worsens, said Governor João Doria. The plan, referred to as the “conscious resumption” of the São Paulo economy, will have five phases and will be implemented in the cities that present a “consistent reduction of cases, availability of hospital beds in public and private sectors, as well as respecting social isolation and mandatory use of masks,” said Mr. Doria. But Brazil needs to keep both eyes open, as the disaster following <a href="">Chile’s reopening showed</a>.

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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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