Coronavirus (580) Policymakers and health misinformation (19) COVID-19 in Brazil: “So what?”

9 May, 2020

On 18 April we learned on HIFA that Brazil's health minister was fired by President Jair Bolsonaro for his response to the coronavirus pandemic. 'President Bolsonaro had publicly criticised Mr Mandetta for urging people to observe social distancing and stay indoors.'

This lead editorial in The Lancet points to increasing concern about Brazil's (lack of) evidence-informed health policy as coronavirus cases double every 5 days...

CITATION: COVID-19 in Brazil: “So what?”

The Lancet

Published: May 09, 2020 DOI:


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic reached Latin America later than other continents. The first case recorded in Brazil was on Feb 25, 2020. But now, Brazil has the most cases and deaths in Latin America (105 222 cases and 7288 deaths as of May 4), and these are probably substantial underestimates. Even more worryingly, the doubling of the rate of deaths is estimated at only 5 days... Yet, perhaps the biggest threat to Brazil's COVID-19 response is its president, Jair Bolsonaro.

When asked by journalists last week about the rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, he responded: “So what? What do you want me to do?”... Luiz Henrique Mandetta, the respected and well liked Health Minister, was sacked after a television interview, in which he strongly criticised Bolsonaro's actions and called for unity...

Loggers and miners now risk bringing COVID-19 to remote populations. An open letter on May 3... organised by the Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, warns of an impending genocide...


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), 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: