2020 coronavirus pandemic in Brazil

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020, after a 61-year-old man from São Paulo who had returned from Lombardy, Italy tested positive for the virus. Since then, as of 22 March 2020, 1,546 cases were confirmed in the country — 459 of them in the state of São Paulo —, causing 25 deaths. Local transmission has been reported in at least seven states, and the pandemic has triggered a variety of responses from federal, state and local governments, while also impacting politics, education and the economy.

2020 coronavirus pandemic in Brazil
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Brazil.svg
Map of states with confirmed coronavirus cases (as of 27 March):
  < confirmed cases 26
  ≥ confirmed cases 26
  ≥ confirmed cases 51
  ≥ confirmed cases 101
  ≥ confirmed cases 201
  ≥ confirmed cases 1001
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationBrazil
First outbreakLombardy, Italy[1] Wuhan, People's Republic of China[2][3]
Index caseSão Paulo
Arrival date26 February 2020
(1 month and 3 days)
Confirmed cases3,477[4]
Suspected cases11,278[5]
Recovered6[6][7][8]
Deaths
92[4]
Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

Timeline

These are the deaths and new confirmed cases of the new Coronavirus in Brazil.

January and February

COVID-19 cases in Brazil  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-02-26
1(n.a.)
1(=)
2020-02-29
2(+100%)
2(=)
2020-03-04
4(+100%)
2020-03-05
8(+100%)
2020-03-06
14(+75%)
2020-03-07
19(+43%)
2020-03-08
25(+32%)
2020-03-09
30(+20%)
2020-03-10
34(+13%)
2020-03-11
52(+53%)
2020-03-12
76(+46%)
2020-03-13
98(+29%)
2020-03-14
121(+24%)
2020-03-15
200(+65%)
2020-03-16
234(+17%)
2020-03-17
291(+24%) 1(n.a.)
2020-03-18
428(+47%) 4(+300%)
2020-03-19
621(+45%) 7(+75%)
2020-03-20
964(+55%) 11(+57%)
2020-03-21
1,178(+22%) 18(+64%)
2020-03-22
1,546(+31%) 25(+39%)
2020-03-23
1,891(+22%) 34(+36%)
2020-03-24
2,201(+16%) 46(+35%)
2020-03-25
2,433(+11%) 57(+24%)
2020-03-26
2,915(+20%) 77(+35%)
2020-03-27
3,417(+19%) 92(+17%)
Sources:
  • From 2020-03-27: Data from the daily report of the Ministry of Health in order to be standardized; [1]

On 28 January 2020, the Ministry of Health (Ministério da Saúde) raised the emergency alert to level 2 of 3, considering an "imminent threat" for Brazil, as a suspected case was being investigated in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.[9] The following day, the Ministry announced it was investigating two other suspected cases, in Porto Alegre and Curitiba. No further information was given about the patients in Porto Alegre and Curitiba. However, it was informed that the Belo Horizonte patient was a student that had recently visited Wuhan, China, point of origin of the outbreak.[10]

On 3 February, the Minister of Health Luiz Henrique Mandetta said that the Brazilian government would declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, even without confirmed cases in the country. He also said the government would assist on the return of Brazilians from Wuhan.[11] The following day, the Ministry confirmed that around 30 Brazilians were in Wuhan, and that they would return to the country on 8 February. It was also announced that they would be quarantined for 18 days in Anápolis, Goiás.[12]

On 5 February, the Brazilian government sent two planes to evacuate 34 Brazilians from Wuhan. They and the flight crew were quarantined at a Brazilian Air Force base in Anápolis,[13] and discharged, along with the doctors and health professionals who had contact with them, on 23 February, four days earlier than predicted, as routine tests repeatedly showed negative results for COVID-19.[14]

On 6 February, the Ministry announced nine suspected cases in the country in five different states. However, these were later dismissed.[15] On 24 February, it was informed by the Ministry that there was officially four suspected cases in the country after 54 cases were dismissed.[16]

On 25 February, the Health Department of São Paulo reported the first case of COVID-19 in Brazil — and in South America. It was a 61-year-old man from São Paulo, São Paulo who travelled through Lombardy, Italy between 9 and 21 February. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, which was also confirmed by the Adolfo Lutz Institute. The patient was showing mild symptoms and had been quarantined at home.[17][18]

On 26 February, following the first confirmed case in the country, the government reported that Brazil was monitoring 20 suspected cases, 12 of them were people who came from Italy.[19] The following day, Brazil reported 132 suspected cases in 16 states, 85 of them in the state of São Paulo.[20]

On 28 February, the Brazilian government reported 182 suspected cases in 17 states; 72 of the previous day cases were discarded.[21] That same day, Brazilian scientists from Adolfo Lutz Institute and the University of São Paulo's Tropical Medicine Institute — part of the Centre for Arbovirus Discovery, Diagnostics, Genomics & Epidemiology — announced the sequencing of the COVID-19 genome of the first case reported in Brazil, in a record time of just two days.[22] This discovery will assist in improving the diagnosis and control measures to curb the spread of the disease.[23]

On 29 February, a second case was confirmed in the country: the patient was a 32-year-old man who arrived from Milan. Brazil also reported 207 suspected cases in 17 states, 91 of them in São Paulo.[24]

1–15 March

On 3 March, Brazil raised the number of suspected cases from 433 to 488 in 23 states.[25] That same day, the genome of COVID-19 samples from the second Brazilian case were released on the GISAID database. The analysis shows two independent introductions of the virus in Brazil from Northern Italy and have direct implications in understanding the outbreak in Italy.[26] The following day, two additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, raising the number of infected patients to 4. The number of suspected cases was raised from 488 to 531.[27] Up until that moment, all of the confirmed cases were from the state of São Paulo.[citation needed]

President Jair Bolsonaro's official announcement about COVID-19, 6 March.

On 5 March, three new cases were confirmed, raising the total to 8. The disease had now spread to the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, also in the Southeast Region. Later that day, a woman in the Federal District was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 and was waiting for the confirmation test.[28] That was the first case reported in the Central-West Region.

On 6 March, the country raised the number of confirmed cases to 13. The state of Bahia — and Northeast Region — confirmed its first case, and the number of suspected cases was raised to 768.[29] That same day, Brazilian scientists announced the cultivation of COVID-19 in a laboratory, with the purpose of contributing to the diagnosis and vaccines against the disease.[30] Later that day, President Jair Bolsonaro, said during an official announcement on television that "there is no reason to panic" and that people "must strictly follow the experts recommendations as the best protective measure".[31]

On 7 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed 6 new cases, raising the number to 19. The number of suspected cases was reduced to 674.[32] The following day, six new cases were confirmed, raising the total number to 25. The states of Alagoas (in the Northeast) and Minas Gerais (in the Southeast) reported their first cases.[33]

On 9 March, the country confirmed 5 new cases of coronavirus — all of them in the state of Rio de Janeiro —, raising the total number to 30. The number of suspected cases was raised to 930.[34] The following day, Brazil confirmed four new cases, raising the number to 34. The disease had spread to the Southern Region, with the state of Rio Grande do Sul confirming its first case. The number of suspected cases was reduced to 893.[35]

On 11 March, the Federal District confirmed a second case of COVID-19. The patient was the husband of the woman who was hospitalized on 5 March. The examination was carried out by a court order. He had refused to be quarantined and had been in regular contact with others.[36] Later that day, the total number of cases in the country was raised to 69, with new cases being confirmed in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, and Bahia.[37]

On 12 March, Brazil confirmed 137 cases.[38] The state of Paraná (in the South) confirmed its first 6 cases, while Pernambuco (in the Northeast) confirmed its first two cases.[39] Fábio Wajngarten, Press Secretary to President Bolsonaro, tested positive for COVID-19. As such, the president and his cabinet were being monitored. Wajngarten had also interacted with U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, during Bolsonaro's visit to Miami on 7 March, raising concerns that he might have infected them.[40] Also on 12 March, the Ministry of Health requested the approval of an additional R$10 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the federal budget to reinforce its fight against the disease in Brazil.[41] It also estimated that 2,000 intensive care units will be needed to treat patients in the coming weeks.[42] Later that day, second cases were confirmed in Espírito Santo[43] and Minas Gerais.[44] Also on 12 March, the cruise ship Silver Shadow from the Bahamas with 318 passengers and 291 crew members, docked in Recife, Pernambuco, with a suspected case of COVID-19 in a 78-year-old Canadian tourist. The ship was isolated by health authorities.[45]

On 13 March, President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for COVID-19.[46][47] Later that day, Amazonas reported its first case — becoming the first state in the North Region to do so —, while Goiás (in the Central-West Region) reported its first three cases, with 25 new cases being confirmed nationally.[48] The Ministry of Health issued a warning recommending Brazilians and foreigners arriving in Brazil to stay in isolation for at least 7 days.>[49] Also on 13 March, the first patient of COVID-19 in the country, the 61-year-old man from São Paulo, finally recovered.[50]

On 14 March, Brazil confirmed 23 additional cases. Mato Grosso do Sul (in the Central-West Region) and Sergipe (in the Northeast) reported their first cases.[51][52][53] The following day, Brazil confirmed 43 additional cases.[54] That same day, President Jair Bolsonaro, who was being monitored by doctors after Wajngarten tested positive for COVID-19, was heavily criticized for meeting his supporters in a public parade in Brasília without wearing a mask.[55]

16–31 March

On 16 March, Brazil confirmed 34 additional cases, totaling 234, the largest number in Latin America.[56] The following day, the first coronavirus-related death was confirmed in the country. It was a 62-year-old man hospitalized in a private hospital in São Paulo.[57] Later that day, the Ministry of Health reported 291 confirmed cases in the country.[58]

On 18 March, Brazil confirmed three additional deaths. The patients were a 65-year-old man, an 85-year-old man (both with pre-existing conditions), and an 80-year-old man (without pre-existing conditions); they were all from the state of São Paulo.[59][60] That same day, Pará (in the North) reported its first confirmed case. The patient, a 37-year-old person from Belém, is quarantined with his family.[61] Also on 18 March, President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed that two of his Ministers (Bento Albuquerque and Augusto Heleno) had tested positive for COVID-19.[62] At night, he once again made a televised address to the nation, which was met with panelaços from both his followers and opponents.[63] By the end of the night, the Ministry of Health had reported 428 cases in the country.[64]

By 19 March, Brazil had seven deaths from COVID-19. The first death in the state of Rio de Janeiro was that of a 63-year-old domestic worker from Miguel Pereira who was not warned of the risk of contagion by her employer, who was infected with coronavirus in Italy.[65][66] The other victims were a 69-year-old man from Niterói, who was diabetic and hypertensive,[67] and an unidentified person hospitalized in a private hospital in São Paulo.[68] According to G1, there were 647 confirmed cases in the country by night.[69]

By 20 March, Brazil had 11 deaths from COVID-19. The four new victims were a 70-year-old man, an 80-year-old man, a 93-year-old man and an 83-year-old woman. All of them had pre-existing conditions and were hospitalized in private hospitals in the state of São Paulo.[70] The number of confirmed cases reached 904.[71][72] In two hours, the number of confirmed cases in the country went from 750 to 970.[73] By night, the health departments of the Brazilian states had reported 977 confirmed cases. COVID-19 cases were confirmed in 23 states and the Federal District.[74]

On 21 March, Brazil had 18 deaths from COVID-19. By noon, the health departments had reported 1,000 confirmed. Rio de Janeiro confirmed its third death. The victim was a 65-year-old man from Petrópolis. According to Folha de S. Paulo, he had been hospitalized in a private hospital since returning from a trip to Egypt.[75][76] São Paulo, in turn, reported six additional deaths: four women (aged 89, 76, 73, and 89), and two men (aged 90, and 49). São Paulo is the focus of the disease in the country, with 459 confirmed cases. As such, the local government has declared a state-wide quarantine starting on 24 March. The measure determined the closure of all commerce and non-essential services from that date until 7 April. By the end of the day, 1,128 cases were confirmed by the ministry of Health in 25 states and the Federal District.[77]Maranhão (in the Northeast) reported its first case. Only the state of Roraima (in The North) was the last to register a COVID-19 case, so all states and the Federal District registered cases.[78][79][80]

On 22 March, Brazil had 25 deaths from COVID-19. The Ministry of Health reported on Sunday (22) that the number of confirmed cases of covid-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — reached 1,546. The death toll from the disease has grown to 25 people, according to the ministry. São Paulo continues to concentrate the number of cases in the country. There are 631 records. The number of fatalities in the state has already reached 22, according to the ministry's balance sheet. All took place in the city of São Paulo. Thus, the percentage of fatal cases is 3.5%. Of the seven new deaths confirmed since yesterday, five are men (76, 81, 82, 82, 83 years old) and two are women (88 and 96 years old). Among the total deaths recorded so far, 21 occurred in private hospitals and one in a public hospital. In the State of Rio de Janeiro, the number of cases is 186 and there are three deaths in the cities of Niterói, Petrópolis and Miguel Pereira, which is equivalent to a lethality rate of 1.6%. In less than 24 hours, the city of Rio de Janeiro registered a 60.5% increase in the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the capital. In a bulletin released at 2 pm, 170 notifications were recorded. Of this total, 23 people are hospitalized, 12 in ICUs. There are still 175 suspected cases. There are no confirmed deaths in the state capital. Roraima, which was the only state with no cases registered until Saturday, accounts for two occurrences. Thus, all units of the Brazilian federation already have Covid-19 records.[81][82] In Bahia, confirmed by SESAB, there are already 55 confirmed cases, 33 in Salvador, seven in Porto Seguro, six in Feira de Santana, three in Lauro de Freitas, and two in Prado. The cities that have only one confirmed case are Itabuna, Camaçari, and more recently registered, Barreiras and Conceição do Jacuípe. Across the country there are already 1604 infected and 25 deaths registered.[83]

On 23 March, Brazil had 34 deaths from COVID-19. New number of patients represents an increase of 22% in relation to the 1,546 cases registered until Sunday (22). Among deaths, growth was 36%. The total number of confirmed cases of a new coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2) rose to 1,891 on Monday (23), according to a balance by the Ministry of Health. The number of deaths also increased to 34 deaths.[84][85]

On 24 March, Brazil had 46 deaths from COVID-19. According to the Ministry of Health, this Tuesday (24) Brazil registers 2201 people infected with the coronavirus and 46 dead. São Paulo is the state that leads the list with 910 cases and 40 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro, which records 305 cases and 6 deaths. And more: Elderly residents of communities will be hosted in hotels in Rio de Janeiros to avoid contamination.[86]

On 25 March, Brazil had 57 deaths from COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Brazil rose to 2,433, according to information passed by the states to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday (25). To date, there are 57 deaths, 48 in the state of São Paulo and six in Rio de Janeiro. The North, Northeast and South regions recorded the first deaths, one in Amazonas, one in Pernambuco and one in Rio Grande do Sul.[87]

On 26 March, Brazil had 77 deaths from COVID-19. One month after the first case of coronavirus (causing Covid-19 disease) in Brazil, confirmed on 26 February, the country has 2,915 infected and 77 deaths. The lethality rate is 2.7%. The balance was released by the Ministry of Health, on Thursday, 26. The first death in Brazil was registered on 17 March, in São Paulo. The state has already registered more than 90% of cases but now it is almost 40%, with 1,052 infected. Despite this, it still has the highest number of deaths, 58. There are also deaths in Rio de Janeiro (9), Goiás (1), Santa Catarina (1), Rio Grande do Sul (1), Ceará (3), Pernambuco ( 3) and Amazonas (1). In addition to São Paulo, the states with the most infections are: Rio de Janeiro (421), Ceará (235) and the Federal District (200).[88]

On 27 March, Brazil had 92 deaths from COVID-19. The Ministry of Health released the most recent balance of cases of Covid-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus Sars-Cov-2. The main figures are: 92 deaths, 3,417 confirmed cases, 2.7% is the fatality rate. São Paulo concentrates 1,223 cases, and Rio de Janeiro, 493. According to the Ministry of Health, until 3 pm, there were 116 patients admitted to wards and another 148 patients in the ICU. The numbers only consider people whose test results have already been presented and tested positive. Disregard suspected cases.[89][90]

Response

Policy responses and prevention announced in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scientific Research and Forecast

On 19 March, Scientists predict up to 2 million deaths in Brazil in the worst scenario without measures to contain the virus. They point out that maintaining social distance is one of the most effective measures without a vaccine.[91]

On 20 March, Coronavirus growth curve in Brazil repeats that of European countries, warn experts from Italy. Observatory with physicists from USP, Unicamp, Unesp, UnB, UFABC, Berkley (USA) and Oldenburg (Germany) shows that the number of infected people, considering data from this Thursday (19), has been doubling every 54 hours. Total should go over 3 thousand already on Tuesday (24).[92][93]

On 21 March, researchers are mobilizing to increase the offer of tests in Brazil. The expectation is that with just a drop of blood from the patient it will be possible to know if he has the new coronavirus and at what stage; the idea is that experiments are ready for the current wave of covid-19 and action mobilizes some of the main Brazilian universities.[94] The Health Minister said the numbers will increase exponentially until the end of June.[77]

On 22 March, Brazil took longer than Italy and Spain to reach a thousand cases. A North American University survey shows that the evolution of the disease in the country is slower than that observed elsewhere. Brazil took longer to go from 100 to 1,000 cases of Covid-19 than countries like Italy and Spain. The data used are compiled by the American university Johns Hopkins. The country passed 100 people infected with the new coronavirus on 13 March. That day, 151 cases were recorded. Eight days later, on 21 March, Brazil reached the 1,000th positive test and reached 1,021 people with the disease. In Italy, this movement took place between 23 and 29 February (six days); in Spain, between 2 and 9 March (seven days). This means, in the assessment of the statistical expert in epidemiology, Antonio Ponce de Leon, that the rate of infections in Brazil is slower. Italy and Spain are the European countries most affected by the virus. The first recorded, on Sunday, more than 59 thousand cases and 5.4 thousand deaths. The Spaniards had 28,700 patients with 1,700 deaths. Both, who had their health systems collapsed because of the disease, started the fight by restricting the tests to only the most serious cases - the same Brazilian strategy. The justification was that this was a finite and expensive resource.[95]

On 23 March, Research predicts a negative GDP of up to 4.4% with the effect of the coronavirus. The study makes a projection of the impact on the economy, comparing to the effects of the crisis of 2008 and the strike of truck drivers in 2018. The impact of the coronavirus will come through two channels: an external channel and the domestic channel. With the pandemic, the American economy, the European economy and the Chinese economy have practically stopped, or are in a very strong deceleration rhythm. With that, by itself, it would already have a very strong effect in Brazil without a doubt.[96]

On 26 March, The increase in demand and the lack of protective masks in the market for health professionals who are at the forefront of combating the new coronavirus (covid-19) brought together several researchers and students from universities in Rio de Janeiro to develop production projects of the much needed equipment at this time of health crisis. At Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), a group of professors and a master's student at the School of Engineering are already producing low-cost faceshield masks on 3D printers. Professor Márcio Cataldi said that initially the production is being carried out on three printers in the homes of the members of the group, but next Monday (30) five more equipment will be used, and the eight will work in a laboratory of the School of Engineering. At the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the work is in partnership with the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Unirio) and members of civil society. The prototypes of facial protectors developed by UFRJ were validated by the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho (HUCFF) and follow the guidelines of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). At PUC-Rio, a group of researchers and professors from different institutions in the state is dedicated to production that can also extend to cloaks and valves, among other equipment used by doctors and nurses in the Unified Health System (SUS) in the state. In addition to PUC-Rio and UFRJ, the group includes representatives from Unirio, Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), National Service for Industrial Learning (Senai), state government, National Institute of Technology (INT), Coppe UFRJ, DASA Group, Clementino Fraga Filho University Hospital, Brazilian Navy and SOS 3D Covid 19. One of the production sites is the Department of Arts and Design at PUC-Rio, with 16 printing units operating in the Volume and Prototyping. In addition to facial protectors manufactured in 3D printing and laser cutting, the university will produce N95 masks, which are also already in short supply in health facilities. The PUC-Rio team includes professors João Victor de Melo and Gabriella Vaccari, and laboratories Diogo de Souza Marques and Hanna Claudia Marins.[97]

Preventive Measures

On 17 March, Brazilian authorities partially closed their border with Venezuela. Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta had urged closure of the border due to Venezuela's collapsing health system.[98]

On 18 March, Rio de Janeiro and five other municipalities — São Gonçalo, Guapimirim, Niterói, Nova Iguaçu, and Mesquita — in the state of Rio de Janeiro have declared an emergency state to help contain the coronavirus. declared emergency situations in the area of public health.[99] The following day, the government of Rio Grande do Sul declared a public calamity situation. Among the measures adopted are the prohibition of interstate travel and the restriction of items purchased in the markets.[100] On 20 March, it was the government of Rio Grande do Norte that declared a public calamity situation.[101]

On 20 March, The Ministry of Health declared, on Friday (20), the recognition of community transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19) throughout the national territory. This means that the whole of Brazil must unite against the virus. In practical terms, the declaration is a command from the Ministry of Health for all national managers to adopt measures to promote social distance and avoid agglomerations, known as non-pharmacological measures, that is, that do not involve the use of medicines or vaccines.[102] Government of Rio Grande do Norte decrees public calamity because of the coronavirus. The measure becomes effective on Friday (20), after being published in the Official Gazette of the State.[101] In remote voting, Senate approves state of public calamity because of coronavirus. On Friday (20), the Senate approved, in the first remote vote in the history of the House, the draft legislative decree that recognizes that the country is in a state of public calamity due to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The vote was unanimous and 75 senators participated. The acting president of the Senate, Antônio Anastasia (PSD-MG), has already signed the promulgation of the text, which is already in force.[103]

On 21 March, In SP, cases of coronavirus rise almost 40% in two hours. Deaths also increased in the period. Cities in the Campinas region declared an emergency situation due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus. In addition to the metropolis, Hortolândia, Holambra, Indaiatuba, Itapira, Jaguariúna, Mogi Guaçu, Mogi Mirim, Paulínia, Sumaré and Águas de Lindoia issued decrees with special measures to contain the progress of Covid-19 cases. Valinhos and Vinhedo determined a state of public calamity. Americana is in a state of attention.[104][105] In view of the advance of the Covid-19 outbreak, the federal government closed land borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname. The border with Venezuela is already closed. The ordinance was signed by Sergio Moro, Minister of Justice, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, of Health, and Braga Netto, of the Civil House. There is an expectation that air travel will also be stopped soon. Rio de Janeiro declared an emergency situation and determined, among other measures, the suspension, as of Saturday, 21, of the air bridge between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), recommended closing the shopping centers and gyms in the metropolitan region. In addition, classes in public and private schools are also being suspended.[77]

Foreign Policy

On 19 March, Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro, set off a diplomatic dispute with China, Brazil's largest trading partner, when he retweeted a message blaming the Chinese Communist Party for the virus.[106] Yang Wanming, China's top diplomat in Brazil, later retweeted a message saying "The Bolsonaro family is the great poison of this country."[107] Bolsonaro made a televised speech about the pandemic, during which both pro and anti-Bolsonaro panelaços broke out in the largest cities of Brazil.[108] According to one poll, 64% of Brazilians reject the way Bolsonaro has been handling the pandemic, while 44.8% support his impeachment, an all-time high.[109] According to some sources in the Congress, Bolsonaro is shutting down political dialogue on purpose. They claim he is forcing his impeachment as a way to mobilize his supporters.[110]

On 21 March, Banners offend China's politician at the embassy, which he calls an act of "clowning". Videos of offenses against Chinese politicians began to circulate on social networks. In one of them, made from a car, a white man in a yellow shirt, a dark hat and cream pants films two tracks with bad words in Portuguese and English. In them, the target is the General Secretary (paramount leader) of Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping. One calls the coronavirus "China virus" or virus from China. Another uses a curse word that far-right militants began to spread after one of President Jair Bolsonaro's sons, Rio de Janeiro councilor Carlos Bolsonaro (PSC), complained about a report in Veja magazine. The president of the Brazil-China Parliamentary Front, deputy Fausto Pinato, demanded that President Jair Bolsonaro deny his son, under pain of assuming that he was agreeing with him. The presidents of the Chamber and the Senate, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ) and Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), apologized to the Chinese. Yesterday, Jair Bolsonaro said he would not apologize. However, he said that the subject was "page turned" and that the country's relationship with the Chinese was "very good".[111]

Internal Policy

President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus crisis.[112] On 10 March, he referred to the pandemic as a "fantasy" created by the media.[113]

On 15 March, Bolsonaro, who was being monitored by doctors after his Press Secretary tested positive for COVID-19, was heavily criticized for meeting his supporters in a public parade in Brasília without wearing a mask.[55] Later, impeachment cases were brought up against the President for his participation in the parade, which some viewed as anti-democratic, and also for posing a threat to public health.[114]

On 20 March, Bolsonaro criticized the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel (PSC), for asking for the suspension of the arrival of flights from states where contamination by the new coronavirus is confirmed.[115] Bolsonaro says that closing shopping malls and commerce hurts the economy. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from around the world have suggested measures to restrict the circulation of individuals as one of the most efficient ways to contain the spread of the virus. However, then-president Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday (20) that he was against the closing of trade decreed by most state governors as a measure to combat the coronavirus.[116] Doria counters Bolsonaro: "we are doing what he does not do, lead". The governor of São Paulo, João Doria Jr (PSDB), countered today a statement by president Jair Bolsonaro and said that the governors are playing the role that would be his, which is to lead in a pandemic moment for the new coronavirus. Earlier in Brasília, Bolsonaro criticized what he called extreme measures, such as "closing shopping malls and fairs". He did not specifically mention Doria, but the governor of São Paulo defended the stance.[117] Brazil is the 2nd country with more cases of coronavirus at the top of the government. Just behind Iran and followed by France, the Brazilian government has at least thirteen prominent politicians contaminated. The confirmation on Thursday 18 that the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, and the President of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre, contracted the new coronavirus makes Brazil the second country with more cases of the disease at the top of the government. With 13 confirmed, it is second only to Iran, which has 24 sick officials.[118]

On 21 March, For Congress, Bolsonaro wants them to try impeachment to have a confrontation. The presidents of the Chamber, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), and the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), as well as the leaders of the main parties of the Congress no longer believe in the possibility of productive dialogue with President Jair Bolsonaro.[110] Coronavirus unmasks Bolsonaro's death policy. How the scrapping of SUS and public communication make Brazil more susceptible to the pandemic. After Jair Bolsonaro participated in last Sunday's acts against the Supreme Federal Court and the National Congress, a district deputy and a group of three PSOL parliamentarians and militants filed two impeachment cases against the President of the Republic for supporting anti-democratic demonstrations. A portion of civil society bet on the annulment of the ticket that elected him, in view of the cases of disinformation committed still in the electoral process. The coronavirus pandemic spells out another series of riots that Bolsonaro has been committing in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic.[114] On 23 March, Rodrigo Maia stated that Brazil might need between $78.1 billion to combat coronavirus.[119]

On 22 March, on CNN Brasil, Bolsonaro criticized the quarantine decree and called Doria a lunatic. The president gave an exclusive interview to the broadcaster and spoke about the measures to contain the new coronavirus, the confidence in the hydroxychloroquine medicine and also harshly criticized the state governors. In the interview, Bolsonaro considered that the governors who decreed quarantine in their states are extrapolating. They are giving an "overdose of the medicine and that the excess medicine becomes a poison". João Doria, governor of São Paulo, and Wilson Witzel, governor of Rio de Janeiro, were criticized by the president. "Doria is a lunatic. He denies that he used my name to be elected governor and is taking advantage to grow politically," said Bolsonaro. "The subject (of the discussions) has to be focused only on the problem that lies ahead, which is the coronavirus." The president also commented on the suspicion that he was infected with the new coronavirus and justified the use of the term "little flu" to refer to COVID-19. "Several times the press wanted me to do the third test. I said that they were very concerned about my health and, after having been stabbed before, I am calm with this virus. I said it would be a 'little flu' for me."[120]

On 23 March, president Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that it is not yet time to talk about postponing municipal elections this year because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus. "I am not in the business of postponing municipal elections, it is still too early," he said, as he left the Palácio da Alvorada. "They ask if Mandetta's popularity is higher than mine. So much!", the president said. Bolsonaro also stated that panic cannot be spread to society: "We cannot bring panic to society, because panic is also a more serious disease." The president pointed out that today he will have a meeting, by videoconference with governors from the North and Northeast regions. And he will hear proposals to combat the new coronavirus.[121]

On 24 March, president Jair Bolsonaro declared that the routine in the country must return to reality and that the Brazilian press spread the panic around the coronavirus, which he called again "little flu". Speaking on radio and television, Bolsonaro also criticized governors for determining quarantine - with trade and border closures - and questioned why schools were closed. Read the president's statement in full:[122]

  • Good evening.
  • Since when we rescued our brothers in Wuhan, China, in an operation coordinated by the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the yellow sign has appeared for us. We started to prepare to face the coronavirus, because we knew that sooner or later it would arrive in Brazil. Our Minister of Health met with almost all health secretaries in the states so that the strategic plan to fight the virus was built.
  • And ever since, Dr. Henrique Mandetta has been doing an excellent job of clarifying and preparing the SUS for the care of possible victims. But what we had to contain at that moment was panic, hysteria and, at the same time, devise a strategy to save lives and avoid mass unemployment. We did so, against everything and against everyone.
  • Much of the media went against the grain. They spread the feeling of dread exactly, having as their flagship the announcement of the large number of victims in Italy, a country with a large number of elderly people and with a climate totally different from ours. The perfect scenario, enhanced by the media, for a real hysteria to spread throughout our country.
  • It can be seen that, from yesterday to today, part of the press has changed its editorial, asking for calm and tranquility. That's really good. Congratulations, Brazilian press. It is essential that common sense and balance prevail among us.
  • The virus has arrived, is being faced by us and will soon pass. Our life has to go on. Jobs must be maintained. The livelihood of families must be preserved. We must, yes, return to normality. A few state and local authorities must abandon the concept of scorched earth, the ban on transportation, the closing of businesses and mass confinement.
  • What is happening in the world has shown that the risk group is that of people over 60 years old. Why close schools? Fatal cases of healthy people under the age of 40 are rare. Ninety percent of us will have no manifestation if we get infected. What we should do is be extremely concerned about not transmitting the virus to others, especially to our dear parents and grandparents, respecting the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.
  • In my particular case, due to my athlete's history, if I was infected with the virus, I wouldn't have to worry. I wouldn't feel anything or would, at most, have a little cold or a little flu, as that famous doctor from that famous television said. While I am speaking, the world is seeking treatment for the disease. The American FDA and Albert Einstein hospital, in São Paulo, are seeking proof of the effectiveness of chloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. Our government has received positive news about this medicine manufactured in Brazil and widely used to fight malaria, lupus and arthritis.
  • I believe in God, who will train scientists and researchers from Brazil and the world to cure this disease. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all health professionals: doctors, technical nurses and collaborators who receive us at the front lines in hospitals, treat us and comfort us. Without panic or hysteria, as I have been talking about since the beginning, we will overcome the virus and be proud to live in this new Brazil that, yes, has everything to be a great nation. We are together, increasingly united.
  • God bless our dear homeland.[123]

Politicians and authorities reacted to President Jair Bolsonaro's pronouncement about the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday night (24). The president called for "a return to normal", an end to "mass confinement" and said that the media had spread "dread". Senate President Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) released a note in which he classified Bolsonaro's speech as "serious" and said the country needs "serious leadership". The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), affirmed that the statement "was wrong when attacking the press, the governors and specialists in public health". Among the Brazilian politicians who spoke out against this statement by the President of the Republic are: Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) President of the Senate, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ) President of the Chamber, Felipe Santa Cruz President of the OAB, Gilmar Mendes Minister of the STF, Wilson Witzel (PSC) governor of Rio de Janeiro, Helder Barbalho (MDB) governor of Pará, Alexandre Frota (PSDB-SP) federal deputy, Joice Hasselmann (PSL-SP) federal deputy, Janaina Paschoal (PSL-SP) state deputy, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG) senator, Kim Kataguiri (DEM-SP) federal deputy, José Serra (PSDB) former Minister of Health, José Ricardo Roriz vice president of Fiesp, Leila do Vôlei (PSB-DF) senator, Renato Casagrande (PSB) governor of Espírito Santo, Wellington Dias (PT), governor of Piauí, Fátima Bezerra (PT) governor of Rio Grande do Norte, Antonio Anastasia (PSD-MG) senator, Fernando Henrique Cardoso former president, João Amoêdo ex-president of the New Party, Enio Verri (PT-PR) federal deputy, Eduardo Braga (MDB-AM) senator, Humberto Costa (PT-PE) senator, Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP) senator, Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ) federal deputy, Flávio Dino (PCdoB) governor of Maranhão, José Guimarães (PT-CE) federal deputy, Rogério Carvalho (PT-SE) senator, Fernanda Melchionna (PSOL-RS) federal deputy, Weverton Rocha (PDT-MA) senator, Marcelo Freixo (PSOL-RJ) federal deputy, Paulo Pimenta (PT -RS) federal deputy, Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN) senator, Eliziane Gama (Cidadania-MA) senator, Marcelo Ramos (PL-AM) federal deputy, Arnaldo Jardim (Cidadania-SP) federal deputy, Reinaldo Azambuja (PSDB) governor of Mato Grosso do Sul, Wilson Lima (PSC) governor of Amazonas. The PSDB, the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), the Secretaries of Health of the Northeast, the Brazilian Society of Infectology, also spoke against the president's speech. In favor of the president's speech, his two sons Eduardo Bolsonaro (no party) federal deputy and Flávio Bolsonaro (no party) senator, along with Vitor Hugo (PSL-GO), federal deputy, spoke.[124]

Brazilian cities register pots against Bolsonaro for the eighth consecutive day. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Recife were some of the cities in which people threw pots during the president's speech last Tuesday (24). Brasilienses protested, against the pronouncement of the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro (without party). “Pots” were recorded in Águas Claras, in the Southwest, in Cruzeiro, in Asa Norte, in Asa Sul and in Taguatinga.[125][126]

On March 27, The governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), received death threats on his cell phone and on social media the day after he attended a meeting of governors and repudiated the statement by President Jair Bolsonaro (sem partido), made on national network, about the measures adopted by governors to fight the coronavirus. In addition to the death threats, the messages spoke of breaking into Doria's home, where the governor lives with his family. Doria registered a police report on Thursday night (26) and the Civil Police will investigate the threats. The governor's house, located in Jardins, a prime area of São Paulo, was surrounded and protected by the Military Police (PM). According to the government, there are indications that the attacks were allegedly articulated by the "hate office", led by the president's son, Carlos Bolsonaro.[127]

Impact

Economy

Economists expect an economic stagnation for the country in 2020.[128] As such, on 16 March, the Ministry of Economy announced a stimulus package of R$147.3 billion (29 billion USD) to help the economy against the effects of the pandemic.[129] The Brazilian government is also in negotiations with the New Development Bank to receive an aid package for its COVID-19 efforts; China received one billion USD from the same institution.[130]

On 21 March, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes announced a series of aid measures to reduce the impact on the economy that will be caused by Covid-19. A scholarship for self-employed professionals, in the amount of R $200, is being prepared, in addition to the payment guarantee for workers who have reduced working hours.[77]

On 22 March, Crisis of the new coronavirus poses challenges for the industry and for Brazil. Now, the outlook is that the country's growth this year will be negative, culminating in an unprecedented economic recession. In this new scenario, the industrial sector, the largest job generator in the country, will be the most affected. The crisis generated by the new coronavirus abruptly interrupted the recovery cycle in industrial activity in Brazil. The government has announced measures in recent days to prevent the economic slowdown, but some sectors are already being impacted. A survey carried out by the Brazilian Association of the Electrical and Electronic Industry (Abinee) at the beginning of March showed that 70% of the associated companies already have problems with the supply of components, which are mainly produced in China and other Asian countries.[131]

Education

On 20 March, The pandemic has impacted education all over the world. In over a hundred countries, there were nationwide school closures. However, President Jair Bolsonaro has issued few country-wide measures to slow the spread of the virus,[132][133] and because the federal government failed to act appropriately regarding the pandemic and had, as of 20 March, not decided to cancel classes in the whole country, lower instances of government had to act autonomously. As such, municipal, state, and private schools and universities had different reactions regarding the suspension of classes. Classes were suspended at once, gradually or not at all. Some of them were replaced with distance education or simply postponed. Because of that, there are only "localized" (as opposed to "national") school closures, according to UNESCO.[134]

Favelas

On 17 March, Residents of communities in Rio de Janeiro suffer from a lack of water amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cariocas and fluminenses are much more exposed to the proliferation of coronavirus without having water for cleaning, says a specialist. In parts of the Baixada Fluminense and the North Zone of Rio the water does not reach. Among the affected areas are: Chatuba de Mesquita, Camarista Méier and Complexo do Alemão communities. The infectious disease doctor and pediatrician Cristiana Meirelles says that without clean running water, the situation of fighting the epidemic becomes catastrophic.[135] Cufa calls for measures to contain coronavirus in favelas. Government actions do not include the economically fragile, a contingent that totals more than 70 million people, says the organization.[136]

On 20 March, With the arrival of the pandemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Brazil, much has been said about the care that the person has to adopt to avoid spreading the disease. However, many of these recommendations like “stay at home” are not an option for many Brazilians.[137]

On 21 March, Without piped water and space for isolation, Rio's favelas lack the resources to fight the coronavirus. Government authorities are not doing the proper planning that these communities need. “We are talking about places where there is no running water, there is a lot of mud, a lot of animals. People are unable to maintain the personal hygiene and cleanliness required at this time, ”says one resident.[138]

On 22 March, Favelas do Rio have 61 suspected cases of the new coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. Of the total, 19 are in Cidade de Deus, in the West Zone, where the first case was confirmed over the weekend. City Hall installed community taps in eight slums in this Monday (23). The number of confirmed cases are: in Cidade de Deus 19, in Rio das Pedras 10, Manguinhos 8, in Jacarezinho 7 cases, Complexo Lins 4, Jacaré 2, in Parada de Lucas 2. Already in Acari, Complexo Caju, Complexo da Maré , Pedreira Complex, São Carlos Complex, Mangueira, Rocinha, Vidigal and Vilar Carioca 1 (each). "The biggest concern is that the favelas will suffer the most. Crowds of people, there are houses here with 5, 6 children in one room. It is worrying, very worrying. If it spreads out here, it will be very sad", says the leader Thiago Firmino. Rio's favelas suffer from a lack of water and the population is more vulnerable to coronavirus. Public Defender asks for help from residents to organize data and take emergency measures. Trajano reported that some areas of Maré have been without water for two days while others have not received water for two weeks. “If the water arrives, it is always with the help of a pump bought by the resident. We have already complained to Cedae, the company said it is resolving, but we already know that the favela is always the last to receive everything and that the rights only come after a lot of collection ”.[139][140][141]

Healthcare

Since the first cases were reported in the country, there were concerns if its healthcare system would be able to deal with the pandemic.

On 18 March, hospitals in São Paulo denounced a lack of health materials, such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, caused by an in an increase in prices.[142][143] According to them, packages of masks went from R$4.50 in January to R$140 on 17 March. The government said it will negotiate with the industry to meet the demand.[144][145] In Salvador, there was an outage of masks and hand sanitizer in the local commerce.[146] Rio and five other municipalities in the state declare an emergency to contain the coronavirus. Municipalities of São Gonçalo and Guapimirim also declared a state of emergency and Niterói, Nova Iguaçu and Mesquita declared an emergency situation in the area of public health.[99]

On 19 March, scientists predicted up to 2 million deaths in Brazil in the worst scenario without measures to contain the coronavirus. They point out that maintaining social distance is one of the most effective measures without a vaccine.[91] Their conclusion came after analyzing the growth curve of COVID-19 cases in Brazil. The contagion rate is the same as that registered in Italy, as the number of infected people has been doubling every 54 hours. According to estimates, the number of confirmed cases might reach 3,000 by 24 March.[92] According to the Ministry of Health, the number of infected patients will grow exponentially by the end of June.[77] The mayor of Belo Horizonte, Alexandre Kalil (PSD), asked General Altair José Polsin, commander of the 4th Army Region, for the temporary assignment of 51 professionals from the army garrison to assist in the demands of fighting the coronavirus. The Brazilian Army has not yet said whether it will meet this demand. Peak cases of Covid-19 in BH will be in the 1st week of April. In an interview, the health secretary announced the creation of two more Respiratory Disease centers and is studying placing PMs to serve the population.[147][148][148] Government of RS decrees public calamity situation due to coronaviruses. Among the measures are the prohibition of interstate travel and the restriction of items purchased in the markets. Decree applies from this Thursday (19).[100] Employees at four public hospitals in the city of São Paulo reported a shortage of materials such as alcohol gel, masks and gloves when caring for patients with suspected coronavirus (covid-19). Professionals report precariousness against coronavirus in the SUS: “The patient is exposed, and so are we”. With a shortage of masks and even rationing of gel alcohol, the situation of public service workers is different from that of private reference hospitals in São Paulo.[142][143] Stores specializing in medical supplies no longer have alcohol gels and masks. Among them, those known as N95, used by health professionals. With the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and the great search for protection, street vendors (without sales in the middle of the pandemic crisis) have been taking advantage of the demand for equipment and trying to profit from it.[146]

On 20 March, it was reported by the press that Brazil was contradicting the recommendation of the World Health Organization by only testing patients in severe condition. João Gabbardo, executive secretary at the Ministry of Health, said that the criteria adopted would not change, and people with serious cases will be tested for COVID-19.[74] The following day, a group of scientists announced they were developing new COVID-19 tests in Brazil. They expect to elaborate a test which will work with a single drop of blood from the patient. They expect it to be ready for the current outbreak of COVID-19, and hope to engage some of the main Brazilian universities in its development.[94] Without protective items, health workers improvise caps like masks in hospitals. In addition to the first cases of coronavirus in Acre, health professionals in the state have to deal with the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Some agents are improvising caps like masks.[149] Health professionals in RJ complain about the lack of conditions to work with patients in Covid-19. Doctor says there are no N95 masks, with more efficient filter, at Hospital Salgado Filho. Unions say there is a shortage of personal protective equipment in hospitals.[150] Brazil contradicts WHO and only tests in severe cases. The executive secretary of the Ministry of Health, João Gabbardo, said that now the criteria adopted in the mitigation phase will not change, and only people with serious cases will be tested.[74]

Religious services

Dom Odilo Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo has defended that churches should not be closed. He argues that there should be more daily services to diffuse large gatherings.[151] Bishop Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has also defended that services should not be suspended, as well as Silas Malafaia, leader of Assembleia de Deus Vitória em Cristo.[151] Malafaia said he would only close his churches if mandated by a court order. Macedo has caused greater controversy after he dismissed coronavirus as a creation of the media. [152]

Television programming

Brazilian networks started airing prevention tips during their programming. Globo, SBT, RecordTV e RedeTV! announced they would suspend the production of telenovelas, and would record their talk shows without a live audience, while expanding journalism in their programming.[153][154][155]

Statistics

State Confirmed Cases Confirmed Deaths
  São Paulo 1223 68
  Minas Gerais 189 0
  Rio de Janeiro 493 10
  Bahia 115 0
  Rio Grande do Sul 195 1
  Paraná 119 2
  Pernambuco 56 4
  Ceará 282 3
  Pará 13 0
  Goiás 49 1
  Maranhão 13 0
  Santa Catarina 149 1
  Paraíba 9 0
  Amazonas 81 1
  Espírito Santo 47 0
  Rio Grande do Norte 28 0
  Alagoas 11 0
  Mato Grosso 11 0
  Piauí 9 0
  Distrito Federal 230 0
  Mato Grosso do Sul 28 0
  Sergipe 16 0
  Rondônia 6 0
  Tocantins 8 0
  Acre 25 0
  Amapá 2 0
  Roraima 10 0
  Brazil 3417 92

New cases per day

 

Total confirmed cases

 

New deaths per day

 

Total confirmed deaths

 

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