Bolsonaro's missteps are [also] jeopardizing global efforts to fight the pandemic. The COVID-19 nightmare unfolding in Brazil is a searing indictment of pandemic populism. — Robert Muggah, principal of the SecDev Group and cofounder of the Igarapé Institute
Bolsonaro's missteps are [also] jeopardizing global efforts to fight the pandemic. The COVID-19 nightmare unfolding in Brazil is a searing indictment of pandemic populism. — Robert Muggah, principal of the SecDev Group and cofounder of the Igarapé Institute
Opinion: Brazil's President Is A Global Health Threat
Brazil is in critical condition. Latin America's largest country is experiencing record-breaking death tolls and its health system is teetering on the brink of collapse. On Wednesday, it reported over 1,900 deaths in a 24-hour period, the highest single-day tally on record. Brazil already has the world's second-largest COVID-19 death toll — 260,000 people — and more than 10.7 million infected. The failure to slow the outbreak coupled with an anemic vaccination campaign has not only created a domestic tragedy, but a full-blown global threat.

Much of the blame for Brazil's disastrous health crisis lies squarely at the feet of the country's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Over the past year, he has downplayed the threat, peddled conspiracy theories, ridiculed health measures, denounced lockdowns, sabotaged vaccination efforts and even contracted the illness. Health authorities have implored federal and state government officials to impose stricter lockdown measures to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. In response, the president and his circle of advisers have urged supporters to resist mask-wearing and advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, despite the evidence that they do not work, and could even be dangerous, when used to treat COVID-19.

His government's handling of the pandemic is considered the world's worst. Yet, when asked about the pandemic response, the president countered that "nobody would do better than my government is doing."


It is not just Brazil that is put at risk by Bolsonaro's reckless negligence, but the world. New variants such as P.1 have already spread from Manaus, the capital and largest city of Amazonas state, to the rest of Brazil and at least 15 other countries, including the United States. The P.1 strand is more transmissible, affects younger patients, weakens the protective effects of vaccines being rolled out in Brazil and appears to have the potential to reinfect people who have already contracted COVID-19.

... Brazil faces dark days ahead. Bolsonaro's missteps are also jeopardizing global efforts to fight the pandemic. The COVID-19 nightmare unfolding in Brazil is a searing indictment of pandemic populism. It is also a flashing light for other global leaders, including in the U.S., to pressure Bolsonaro to get his house in order before it burns everyone else's down.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/04/973662184/opinion-brazils-president-is-a-global-health-threat