Coronavirus (676) Policymakers and health misinformation (29) COVID-19 in Brazil: "So what?" (3)

28 May, 2020

Extracts from a news item in The New Humanitarian. Full text here: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/05/27/Brazil-coronavirus-re...

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With Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro railing against lockdowns and imploring his citizens to ignore social distancing measures, it has been left up to community organisations, local officials, and private donors to take the lead in responding to COVID-19.

Two months after Bolsonaro dismissed the virus as a “little cold”, Brazil has the second highest caseload in the world after the United States, and critics accuse the right-wing populist of having allowed COVID-19 to decimate the health service and the economy.

But this doesn’t mean Brazilians aren’t trying to treat and contain the virus, which has now claimed more than 23,000 lives: community groups, health workers, private donors, and local officials have all mounted campaigns to combat the virus in Brazil’s complex urban centres...

Bolsonaro’s rhetoric on the virus is repeated even in some of the country’s most severely ravaged neighborhoods. On the poor outskirts of Manaus, an Amazonian city where mass graves are being used to bury COVID-19 victims, some of the president’s supporters still view the disease as a “little cold”, said Ivan Brito, who runs a community radio programme and has been threatened by Bolsonaro backers for promoting social distancing...

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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