Coronavirus (642) Brazil's health workers: 'Our biggest problem is fake news'

22 May, 2020

Extracts and a comment from me below. Full text here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-52739734

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“I can categorically say that Brazil has become the most important epicentre for the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the world,” Domingos Alves, a professor at the Ribeirao Preto Medical School told BBC News Brasil.

Almost 18,000 people have died according to official figures, but Prof Alves warns that the death toll has been massively underreported.

And yet President Bolsonaro insists that Covid-19 is “only a mild flu”.

The far-right leader has been attending anti-lockdown demonstrations, shaking hands with supporters, and even promising to hold a barbecue “for about 30 guests” in the middle of the pandemic...

Questioned by journalists last month after Brazil’s death toll exceeded 5,000, he said: “So what? I am sorry, but I can’t work miracles."...

In March, Twitter and Facebook deleted presidential posts after identifying them as fake news.

Last month, rumours - which have since been disproved - that authorities in the Amazonian city of Manaus were filling graves with empty coffins to inflate the death toll went viral on social media...

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Comment (NeilPW): As each week passes, we see how the cancer of health misinformation is infiltrating deeper and deeper worldwide. I shall send a separate message with further thoughts...

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org