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Numbers of the week: Aug. 22, 2020

. Aug 22, 2020

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: mortality of respiratory distress patients, a macabre death in a supermarket, a clash over abortion rights, Operation Car Wash continues, more vaccine tests, Brazil’s economic downturn.

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113,358 Covid-19 deaths and 3,532,330 cases

Despite coronavirus numbers continuing to grow in Brazil,

President Jair Bolsonaro <a href="https://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/politica/2020/08/20/interna_politica,1177787/bolsonaro-coronavirus-nao-vi-quem-enfrentou-melhor-pandemia-que-nos.shtml">said</a> he hasn&#8217;t seen &#8220;anywhere else in the world give a better response to the pandemic.&#8221; However, only the U.S. has recorded more cases and deaths than Brazil. But despite the utter mismanagement of the health crisis, the president feels emboldened by rising popularity levels — and the fact that 15 of Brazil&#8217;s 27 states are showing a downward trend in new daily deaths.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641109"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641192"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>35 percent of ARDS patients die</h2> <p>According to data from the Health Ministry, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, over <a href="https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/equilibrioesaude/2020/08/uma-em-cada-tres-pessoas-hospitalizadas-por-sindrome-respiratoria-aguda-grave-morre.shtml">35 percent</a> of the patients admitted to hospital in Brazil with acute respiratory distress syndrome (<a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2020/06/06/brazil-cities-with-few-covid-19-deaths-see-ards-deaths-spike/">ARDS</a>) have died. Until August 16, 295,950 people have been taken to hospital with ARDS symptoms, and 104,065 died. Such severe respiratory distress can be a symptom of Covid-19, but it may also be caused by bacteria or the H1N1 influenza virus. The data shows that in 72.6 percent of these deaths, the victim is a multiracial male, aged 60 or over, with prior health conditions. <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/08/20/coronavirus-one-in-three-ards-patients-dies-in-brazil/">Read more</a>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>3 hours with a corpse</h2> <p>A supermarket worker died on the job in the city of Recife, the capital of the Pernambuco state. People in the store covered his dead body with beach umbrellas and boxes, while the market remained open. The corpse was left there for more than 3 hours until authorities came. The startling case raised a discussion about <a href="https://brazilian.report/podcast/2020/05/20/explaining-brazil-podcast-109-the-price-of-a-human-life/">the value of human life</a> in Brazil&#8217;s labor relations.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>10-year-old rape victim reignites abortion debate</h2> <p>Last weekend, a “pro-life” <a href="https://brazilian.report/society/2020/08/17/10-year-old-rape-victim-reignites-abortion-debate-brazil/">ultrareligious group protested in front of a hospital</a> in Pernambuco, decrying an <a href="https://brazilian.report/society/2020/03/03/reality-clandestine-abortions-brazil/">abortion</a> procedure being performed on a 10-year-old girl, who was the victim of sustained sexual abuse from one of her family members. Protesters tried to stop doctors and nurses from entering the medical facility, saying the girl should be forced to deliver the baby, despite Brazil&#8217;s restrictive reproductive rights guaranteeing legal abortions in rape cases. The procedure ended up being successful, and the debate over reproductive rights was reignited nationwide.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">VIDEO: A so-called &#8220;pro-life&#8221; religious group opposed the termination of a 10-year-old girl&#8217;s pregnancy, who was raped by her uncle. In Brazil, abortions in such cases are legal. The case reignited Brazil&#8217;s public debate on abortion <a href="https://t.co/VUzIDj5uXU">pic.twitter.com/VUzIDj5uXU</a></p>— The Brazilian Report (@BrazilianReport) <a href="https://twitter.com/BrazilianReport/status/1296965712762875910?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Operation Car Wash, part 72</h2> <p>The Brazilian Federal Police launched Operation “Sailing is Necessary,” the 72nd offshoot of the vast Operation Car Wash. This latest probe investigates bid-rigging in Transpetro, responsible for the transport of fuel for state-owned oil firm Petrobras, as well as its imports and exports of oil. Authorities have issued two arrest warrants against businessmen brothers Germán and José Efromovich, owners of the EISA Shipyard and shareholders of Avianca Holdings. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, courts ordered that they should be placed on house arrest.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite all these recent developments, some believe <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2020/07/02/brazil-operation-car-wash-the-end-seems-near/">Operation Car Wash is close to an end</a>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>4th Latin American country testing a Covid-19 vaccine</h2> <p>The Cuban government announced that it will begin running human tests for its “Soberana 01” Covid-19 vaccine. According to the head of epidemiology at Cuba’s public Health Ministry Francisco Duran, “finding an efficient vaccine to fight the virus is the top priority for our science and innovation system.” The medicine is expected to be made available in February 2021. The island joins Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico in the vaccine race in Latin America. <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/08/19/cuba-will-hold-human-tests-for-its-covid-19-vaccine-government/">Read more</a>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brazil’s 4th vaccine study</h2> <p>The Brazilian Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has given Johnson &amp; Johnson the go-ahead to proceed with phase three trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil. The study for the so-called Ad26.COV2.S vaccine will require around 60,000 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60 — roughly 7,000 will be from Brazil. Besides Johnson &amp; Johnson, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca (in partnership with the University of Oxford), U.S. giant Pfizer, and Chinese biotech company Sinovac are also holding trials in the country. <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/08/18/health-regulators-authorize-fourth-vaccine-study-in-brazil/">Read more</a>.&nbsp;</p> <iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed-podcast/episode/4exjl1GXVg9t1p3DZ61Mwp" width="100%" height="232" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>-10.9 percent in Q2 2020</h2> <p>The Brazilian economy shrunk 10.94 percent in the Q2 2020, feeling the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Economic Activity Index (IBC-Br) published by the Central Bank. But the data released by the monetary authority also shows signs of economic recovery. In June, the economy registered 4.89-percent growth when compared to May. The previous month had already seen positive figures, after sharp falls in March and April. Currently, the government projects a 4.7-percent fall in Brazilian GDP for 2020. <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/08/14/central-bank-estimates-11-percent-gdp-drop-for-brazil-in-q2/">Read more</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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