Numbers of the week: Oct. 3, 2020

. Oct 03, 2020
coronavirus numbers covid

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: Shady budget maneuvers by the government, football with fans, Google financing Latin American startups, the side effects of Covid-19, Brazilian unemployment.

Send any suggestions to

BRL 7.5 million taken from the Covid-19 budget

The Jair Bolsonaro

<a href="">administration has misappropriated BRL 7.5 million</a> (USD 1.3 million) earmarked for the purchase of Covid-19 rapid tests. According to newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, the money — which had been donated on March 23 by meat producer Marfrig — <a href="">was used instead to fund</a> the <em>“Pátria Voluntária”</em> program (Voluntary Motherland), led by First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. The initiative aims at fostering volunteerism in Brazil — but has netted just around BRL 1 million (USD 176,800), when discounted its expenses with ads.</p> <p>When the donation was made, the Brazilian government recommended that only severe cases of respiratory diseases should be tested for the coronavirus&nbsp;— due to the scarcity of inputs. Still, the government tried to <a href="">justify</a> its move by saying &#8220;the Health Ministry doesn&#8217;t need more tests.&#8221;&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>300 fans in the stands</h2> <p>On October 1, the state government of Amapá, in Brazil&#8217;s North, allowed 300 people to <a href="">attend the final of the state football championship</a> — the first time Brazilian fans returned to stadiums since the beginning of the pandemic. Clécio Luís Vieira, mayor of Amapá&#8217;s capital Macapá, said he based his decision on the fact that cases and deaths are going down in the state.</p> <p>The state federation said strict safety protocols would be enforced — such as imposing a 1.5-meter distance between fans. But, according to website SportBuzz, supporters acted as if the pandemic did not exist, gathering together in the stands and not wearing masks. Ypiranga defeated opponents Santana by two goals to nil, winning the state title.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brain damage in 45.5 percent severe coronavirus patients</h2> <p>A <a href="">study</a> carried out by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the D’Or Institute, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) concluded that the coronavirus may infect neural cells and cause brain damage in more serious forms of the disease. The study examined brain tissue from a patient who died due to Covid-19. The study corroborates the results of another Brazilian research paper that found 45.5 percent of severe Covid-19 patients developed cerebral complications. Scientists around the world are grappling to understand the effects of Covid-19 on the nervous system, after reports of patients who have had strokes or developed psychosis after falling ill with Covid-19, reports scientific magazine Nature.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>13.1 million out of a job</h2> <p>According to Brazil’s National Household Sample Survey (PNAD-COVID), the country’s official unemployment rate rose to 13.8 percent late in July — meaning 13.1 million Brazilians are currently out of work. Between May and July, it is estimated that at least 7.2 million jobs were cut. The official unemployment rate accounts only for those who are <em>actively</em> seeking jobs, but millions of people stopped looking for a new position during the pandemic out of health fears or believing no jobs would be available. Back in <a href="">February</a>, just before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, Brazil’s unemployment rate sat at 12.8 percent.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>3 in 4 Brazilian women cannot afford Covid-19 tests</h2> <p>A study by website TrocandoFraldas shows that 74 percent of Brazilian women cannot afford Covid-19 tests, while half would like to take one in order to know if they have been infected. As of June, the price range for antibody tests in the country varied from BRL 240 to BRL 420 — the minimum wage in Brazil is just above BRL 1,000 — while the RT-PCR test, used to detect active infections, can cost up to BRL 480.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, 14 percent of Brazilian women were only able to afford the test if it cost up to BRL 50. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of women said they had taken an RT-PCR test, while 12 percent took “quick tests,” the reliability of which has been questioned by experts.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Up to 44ºC</h2> <p>Back in August, it <a href="">snowed</a> in several municipalities to the South of Brazil. Now, some of these same places are facing a <a href="">heat wave</a> — with thermometers registering up to 40ºC on Friday. In 12 states, temperatures topped the 40ºC mark, reaching 44ºC in Cuiabá — a city close to forest areas recently destroyed by <a href="">massive wildfires</a>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 1 billion from Google</h2> <p>Google plans to give USD 1 billion to journalism companies around the world for the right to publish their news stories over the next three years. The new product, entitled ‘Google News Showcase,’ will first be launched in Germany and Brazil, where it has signed up outlets such as newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, news website UOL, and others. Besides Brazil, only Argentina will be reached by the action in Latin America. The European Publishers Council (EPC) — whose members include News UK, the Guardian, Pearson, New York Times, and Schibsted — criticized the project, saying Google “wil be able to dictate terms and conditions” while claiming to be funding journalism.

Read the full story NOW!

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.

Our content is protected by copyright. Want to republish The Brazilian Report? Email us at