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Coronavirus in Brazil Posted by on Apr 24, 2020 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Economy, Politics

Boa tarde a todos! Good afternoon, everyone! Regardless of which country you live, the medidas (measures) for preventing the new coronavirus seem to be the same everywhere: social distance, reduced services and businesses, basic personal hygiene, quarantine if not lockdown. These measures were suggested by the World Health Organization and there is already overwhelming evidence that, when properly followed by governos (governments) and the population, can significantly cut down on the rate of transmission, reducing the so-called contagion curve. However, these measures are not suficientes (enough) on their own, they must be paired with economic plans and pacotes de auxílio (stimulus packages) to comerciantes (businesses) autônomos (self-employed) and pequenas empresas (small companies) that have had their renda (income) affected and may even decretar falência (declare bankruptcy) due to the compulsory fechamento (closure) of establishments and services.

As such, the great desafio (challenge) that many countries have been facing is not only to salvar vidas (save lives) and curb the propagação (spread) of the virus, but also to safeguard the economy. And it is from this standpoint that we can begin to understand the desentendimentos (disagreements) that culminated in the exoneração (dismissal) of the Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, by Jair Bolsonaro right in the middle of a pandemic. Let’stake a look at what is going on in Brazil?

Ever since the first cases of Coronavirus in our country, Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly tried to downplay the severity of the pandemic, at times dismissing it as “just the sniffles”, at others saying that the mortes (death toll) would come only to the idosos (elderly) or people with a history of doenças (illness), but that it would not affect him, for example, since he played sports throughout his life. In addition, he has been pushing medical authorities for a hydroxychloroquine tratamento (treatment), whose effects have not yet been proven effective. In a way, Bolsonaro’s discurso (speech) has always been clearly focused on economical concerns, in an alleged “return to normality”, and therefore to the end of social distancing and quarantine, at least to those who theoretically do not belong to the risk group .

Presidente da República Jair Bolsonaro acompanhado do Ministro da Saúde Luiz Henrique Mandetta (Carolina Antunes/PR / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

In turn, Luiz Henrique Mandetta followed WHO’s preventive protocols, based on scientific grounds to reinforce the idea that the Brazilian population should maintain isolation and that no medication has proven its effectiveness in combater (fighting) the coronavirus so far. Standing contrary to the president’s declarações (statements), the conflict was established. Bolsonaro increasingly spoke of economic recovery with the immediate end of social isolation, taking to the ruas (streets), visiting lojas (shops), tocando pessoas (touching people), causando aglomerações (gathering crowds), in addition to taking part and encouraging manifestações (demonstrations) and rallies in his favor.

The president’s taxa de aprovação (approval rating) and popularity began to drop (cair), while that of the previously little-known minister more than doubled that of Bolsonaro’s. The discomfort of the situation meant that Mandetta was ameaçado (threatened) several times with demissão (resignation), but it was only officially announced on April 16th, after the minister granted uma entrevista (an interview) in which he spoke of the situation to a Brazilian news media fiercely attacked by the Bolsonaro family and his apoiadores (supporters). The decision was met with disapproval by more than 60% of the Brazilian population, and Nelson Teich, the newly replaced ministro da saúde (minister of health) seems to be more attuned with the thinking of the president, although he still defends certain WHO measures and evades questions that could generate conflict with Jair Bolsonaro .

As of April 20th, Brazil has just over 40 thousand confirmed cases and over 2,500 deaths, but some say that this número (number) does not truly reflect the reality, as there are signs of underreporting of cases due to lack of testing. What measures are being taken against the Covid-19 pandemic where you live? Be sure to comment on what you think of our text. Até a próxima! See you next time!

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