Society

In favelas, economic chokehold adds to the virus fears

With cases and deaths at record levels, cities have tried to listen to experts and close the economy. For those living in favelas, however, restrictive measures cause economic distress and hunger

favelas poverty covid
In 2021, poverty rates in Brazil jumped to 12.8 percent. Photo: Fabio Photos/Shutterstock

Soon after the pandemic reached Brazil, it became apparent that the coronavirus was no great equalizer. The virus entered Brazil from Europe, brought back by wealthier, predominantly white citizens traveling abroad. But the victim profile in the country quickly changed, ravaging low-income communities where social distancing is nearly impossible and sanitary conditions are questionable at best. A new, even more brutal wave of the coronavirus has once again victimized Brazil’s less-wealthy populations — with an additional problem: the latest isolation measures represent an economic chokehold on poor Brazilians.

With states forced to enact new restrictions, many families lost...

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