Numbers of the week: Jul. 5, 2020

. Jul 05, 2020
jobs elections coronavirus deaths fake news UN charter coronavirus deaths Health Ministry data, economic reopening ... Brazil's numbers this week

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 latest Covid-19 numbers, another education minister, fake news about Covid-19, Operation Car Wash goes back a decade, low-income students without internet, another child killed in Rio, some good news for Brazilian industrial production, Bolsonaro’s allies inaccurate predictions, and the Amazon rainforest continues to burn.

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64,200 deaths, 1.5 million infections

Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll stands

at 64,265. The country still has the second-highest number of losses globally, only behind the U.S. However, Brazil&#8217;s figures are likely to be much higher, with a huge suspect of underreporting. And despite an average of 1,200 daily deaths, several cities are already reopening their economies.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641109" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641192" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>229 Covid-19 rumors debunked</h2> <p>The spread of Covid-19 in Brazil has been closely followed by <a href="">waves of misinformation</a> about the pandemic, says Brazilian fact-checking group Agência Lupa. The agency said there were at least five major waves of misinformation in Brazil, characterized by the intense circulation of false and misleading content on the same topic over a short period of time. Between January 24 and June 30, the fact-checking company <a href="">verified and debunked</a> 229 false rumors circulating online, of which 36 percent were directly related to the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 27.5 million in bribes</h2> <p>The anti-corruption <a href="">Operation Car Wash</a> task force brought charges against Senator José Serra and his daughter this Friday for international money laundering. Brazil&#8217;s Federal Prosecution Service accuses the senator of pocketing BRL 27.5 million in bribes from the Odebrecht construction group during his tenure as governor of São Paulo. The money was allegedly siphoned from the construction of a ring road in the Greater São Paulo area.</p> <p>The 78-year-old Mr. Serra is best known for his <a href="">tenure</a> as Brazil&#8217;s Health Minister (1998-2002), during which he took on major pharmaceutical companies, broke patents for HIV drugs, and created Brazil&#8217;s nationwide program of generic medication —&nbsp;which lowered drug prices in Brazil. He unsuccessfully ran for president twice, in 2002 and 2010, losing on both occasions to the Workers&#8217; Party in the runoff stage.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>7-percent bump</h2> <p>Brazil’s industrial production rose 7 percent in the month of May, slightly above market expectations of 6.7 percent. While certainly a positive piece of news in relation to April — which saw the Brazilian industry’s worst results for the month in 18 years, falling 18.8 percent — this latest data is far less heartening when analyzed in a broader timeframe. In relation to May 2019, industrial production recorded a drop of 21.9 percent.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>2,200 fire alerts</h2> <p>June saw the highest number of Amazon fires for the month since 2007, according to the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe). By way of satellite analysis, Brazil registered over 2,200 heat spots caused by fires throughout the month, representing a 19.57 increase on the previous month and the highest level for June since 2007. Experts believe the record-breaking figures are the result of a combination of less land surveillance during the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of environmental protection actions taken during President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>906,000 students to get internet access</h2> <p>Roughly 906,000 low-income students currently enrolled in federal institutions will be granted internet access by the Education Ministry, in order to take part in video conferences and other tools to enable online learning. Initially, the program will be focused on mobile data, as 90 percent of federal students own a smartphone. Official <a href="">data</a> shows that class stoppages in federal institutions — including universities and schools — have affected 1.8 million people, among them students, teachers, and employees. Among the vulnerable students, 40 percent live in the Northeast region of Brazil.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>4 (or 3.5) education ministers</h2> <p>Brazil has another new Education Minister, just one week after President Jair Bolsonaro had appointed Carlos Alberto Decotelli, who was forced to resign after it was revealed he had included a number of inaccuracies on his résumé. On Friday, Mr. Bolsonaro chose Renato Feder, a former secretary in the southern state of Paraná, as his new cabinet member. While (apparently) not the ideological zealot some of his predecessors were, Mr. Feder supported the extinction of the Education Ministry in a 2007 book, calling on all educational services to be privatized. The new minister says he has changed his mind on the issue since.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>16 children shot</h2> <p>Seven-year-old Ítalo Augusto was shot dead in front of his home in a low-income Rio de Janeiro neighborhood. The boy is the <a href="">16th child</a> that has been shot in Greater Rio this year alone. The case is reminiscent of the death of 14-year-old João Pedro —&nbsp;killed during a police operation while playing at his cousin’s home in the favela complex of Salgueiro.</p> <p>In 2019 alone, 1,814 police killings were officially recorded, an all-time record.

Lucas Berti

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

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