- “That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times.”
- Public fatigue from lockdowns, and pressure from Bolsonaro, has forced a number of governors and mayors to begin lifting the restrictions.
- Bolsonaro has been criticized for doing little to fight the pandemic.
Brazil, the country second-worst hit by the coronavirus, has surpassed the one million case mark amid political tensions and an ailing economy. The national tally stands at 1,070,139 confirmed cases and 50,058 deaths. However, the experts say that the actual number of both cases and deaths could be more than three times higher.
“That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times,” said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at the São Paulo State University. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the hardest hit states.
The number spiked at a time the director general of World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the virus was entering a new and dangerous phase. This was despite people were getting fed up with lockdown measures and governments seeking to re-open their economies.
Public fatigue from lockdowns, and pressure from the President, Jair Bolsonaro, has forced a number of governors and mayors to begin lifting the restrictions. The public health experts have warned that the move will accelerate the infection rates and fatalities.
The country confirmed its first case on February 26.The pandemic has been widely politicized in the country, and the president has, on several occasions, clashed with a number mayors and governors on lockdown measures.
For instance, Joao Doria, the governor of Sao Paulo, the largest state in the country, has openly criticized the president’s handling of the coronavirus. Doria is a friend turned enemy of the president, who sees him as apolitical rival.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the country has lost two Health Ministers. One of the former ministers, Nicholas Tiech, resigned after less than a month in office. He became the second minister to leave office in less than a month.
The news of Teich’s resignation was received with mixed reactions from leaders and health experts. For instance, governors who have opposed Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic said the minister’s departure signified the president’s failure to manage the pandemic.
Tiech took over office after Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired on April 26. The president had criticized him publicly for urging people to observe social distance and to stay at home. Mandetta, a popular minister, had criticized the president for downplaying the virus.
The country has not done a lot to flatten the curve. President Jair Bolsonaro, on his part, has always argued that the pandemic has greatly affected the country, as he said its side effect being were becoming more harmful than the disease in terms of the economy and unemployment due to the lockdowns.
Bolsanaro has also participated in a number of anti-lockdown protests. In one of them, he posted a video on his Facebook account where he did not wear a mask and was seen shaking hands and waving at the crowd. The president has always been against the quarantine and stay at home measures, and has dismissed the fact that social distancing could flatten the curve.
President Bolsonaro has done little to fight the virus and has compared it to “little flu.” He said that Brazilians were immune to the virus, and because they had already been infected, they had antibodies that could fight the virus. Despite this, the numbers of infections continue to rise.
The President has received criticism from the political divide for dismissing the threat of the virus in the country. Bolsonaro, in recent days, has had a number of his allies investigated on allegations of corruption. Critics have argued will worsen his already weak political grip.