Numbers of the week: Aug. 15, 2020

. Aug 15, 2020
coronavirus numbers

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: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll, the Covid-19 vaccine in Russia, a powerful antibody against the virus, Brazilian overcrowded prisons struggle with the virus, an old-fashioned measure against communism, another state governor with Covid-19 (and infected football players allowed to play), Flavio Bolsonaro’s apparent amnesia. 

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1st vaccine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday the registration of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, called “Sputnik V.” According to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Federation Sovereign Fund, two large Brazilian companies — as well as Brazil’s federal government — are already in talks with Moscow to produce the potential vaccine. Mr. Dmitriev said that at least 20 countries have already started bidding for the purchase of 1 billion doses. 

Expectations are that, with partnerships around the world, 500 million doses can be produced per year in five countries. Besides Brazil, Cuba could also be a pole of production in Latin America. Russia, however, has offered no proof to back up claims of the vaccine’s safety or effectiveness.

11 governors with Covid-19

São Paulo Governor João Doria announced during the week that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, saying he was asymptomatic and “feeling well.” Mr. Doria is the 11th Brazilian state governor to get infected, while President Jair Bolsonaro also contracted the disease early in July. Mr. Doria is one of Mr. Bolsonaro’s enemies during the Covid-19 war, being blamed by many government supporters for imposing a quarantine in the state. 

But though the governor’s efforts to ease the coronavirus spread was precisely an attempt to reduce the impacts of Mr. Bolsonaro’s denialism, the president is now blaming Mr. Doria for all the Covid-19 problems in São Paulo. 

4 players with Covid-19 

During the week, football club Atlético Goianiense appealed to the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) for the right to field four of their players in a match against champions Flamengo on Wednesday, despite the fact the quartet had all tested positive for Covid-19. According to the head of the CBF’s medical committee Jorge Pagura, “there is no risk” in having the four players take part in the match, even with positive Covid-19 tests. Listen to our weekly podcast to learn more about Brazil’s premature return to the pitch.  

50 times stronger against Covid-19

Brazilian scientists announced a potential breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 at the National Academy of Medicine. Horses injected with the Sars CoV-2 protein, responsible for the infection of human cells, developed neutralizing antibodies that were 20 to 50 times more potent against the coronavirus. The next step will be the approval of clinical studies and tests on humans, in order to ascertain the safety of this potential treatment for Covid-19. 

47 percent of inmates infected with the coronavirus

The overcrowded Provisory Detention Center II in São Paulo houses at least 1,600 inmates. Official numbers say that 3,986 prisoners out of 221,060 have tested positive for Covid-19 in São Paulo’s penitentiaries since February and at least 20 prisoners have died from the virus.

Back to 1991

The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, but allies of President Jair Bolsonaro are still spreading “red scares.” Lawmaker Carla Zambelli submitted a bill to Congress which would ‘outlaw communism’ — and equate it with Nazism. She proposes that those who propagate, sell, distribute, or bear Nazi and communist symbols should be incarcerated for two years. And while the bill is unlikely to pass on Congress, it shows how cultural wars will play a role in the 2020 municipal elections. Ms. Zambelli got her inspiration by a similar law passed in Ukraine years ago. 

BRL 638,000? Me?

Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, President Jair Bolsonaro’s eldest son, said in a statement that he “doesn’t remember” whether he paid BRL 638,000 in cash for two apartments, in which the Rio de Janeiro Prosecution Office believe is part of a corruption scandal when Mr. Flavio was a state lawmaker. In our daily newsletter, we explained how the senator is suspected of using real estate operations and a chocolate store as fronts to launder money.[/restricted]

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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