27 April 2020   Leave a comment

We do not have a solid understanding of the actual scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries have not tested adequately or have accurate death counts. But, as of yesterday, CNN estimated that there have been 2.9 million people infected globally and of that number 205,000 have died. In the US, 963,168 people have been infected and 54,614 people have died. If we consider these statistics to be roughly accurate, they indicate that the US has had about one-third of the infections and about 25% of the deaths. It could be the case that the US has been reporting more accurately its situation than other countries, and therefore its record looks particularly bad comparatively. But these metrics are all we have right now and they suggest that the US has handled the crisis poorly, since the US population only constitutes 4.25% of the global population. That record should bring great shame to US citizens.

But there is another country which has also taken the pandemic with less seriousness than it deserves. Issac Chotiner, writing in the New Yorker, describes how President Bolsonaro of Brazil has address the pandemic:

“When faced with the coronavirus outbreak, Bolsonaro responded that Brazilians are immune from diseases and won’t ‘catch a thing,’ adding that ‘God is Brazilian.’ He has also harshly criticized governors who have shut down their states despite his opposition. In mid-April, Bolsonaro fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, for supporting social-distancing policies and, according to Bolsonaro, endangering the economy. Although testing remains limited, Brazil has had about fifty thousand confirmed covid-19 cases and thirty-three hundred deaths, and the disease has reached every one of Brazil’s twenty-seven states.”

The Washington Post asserts that Brazil “is moving closer to becoming one of the world’s hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.” Bolsonaro has also suffered defections from his government because of the way he has belittled the pandemic and has replaced those who have resigned in protest with favored cronies. Some experts fear that Brazil will replace the US as the worst COVID-19 hot spot, and, given the close interactions between Brazil and the US, that possible development will undoubtedly complicate US efforts to contain the virus. Remember–Brazil is now moving into its winter months as the US is moving into summer.

Posted April 27, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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