There is something happening in the world that we should focus on. Sadly, we are ignoring this and many warnings represent this. There is a country that can do a worse job and addressing Covid-19 than US-Brazil can have a worse outcome. It is not getting better but it is likely to get worse.
There are many similarities to the problems in America. In Rio, favelas (low-income neighbourhoods and slums) share materials that are nursing homes, prisons, and public housing. There are 800,000 in indigenous communities, and Sao Paolo resembles a lot of the NYC epicentre. Another sad similarity is the government’s indifference towards those populations. Brazil has the highest inequality in the world. Amir flies and guards in the helicopter. They are not in danger. Some cities were outfitted with coffins in late April.
And the Bolsonaro government shrank from the coronavirus. President Jair Bolsonaro calls it a “neurosis” concern. “Nothing has to be done about it,” he says. He gathers on the beach with a large crowd. They have held large, crowded political rallies and waged a “war” on local governors who have tried to shut down their states. He fired his health minister for disagreeing about social disturbances. He is emphasizing unsafe drugs. It is almost like a playbook.
Bolsonaro is reinforcing the notion that some leaders are more enthusiastic or indifferent than other types, such as Angela Merkel of Germany or Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand (Trump, Boris Johnson pre-COVID).
Now that hospitals in Sao Paolo are two weeks from collapsing, the same prefix was running as NYC and Detroit. Today there is 1,200 deaths/day in Brazil, not at the US level, but Brazil did not win the summit until at least June to achieve it. We are so used to seeing daily death tolls in America that we have lost all perspective of human life. One difference from the US to Brazil is that half the country is not complying with social discrimination standards. Compliance may not be right – it is not more likely to happen.
Brazil is a living example of what would happen if we relaxed socially distant standards. A new explosion. Brazil is also a lesson in what the US would see if Trump was allowed to continue the outbreak through mid-March. Or could it look like a second wave if he convinces half the country to drop their guard?
Brazil’s American response, like everything, has been slow. Not only are we not helping them, but we are also putting ourselves in danger – we have not stopped air travel from Brazil, which has a higher prevalence of Covid-19 than China when we ban travel from China Had. We feel that we are untouched by the world. We feel we can protect ourselves – isolate ourselves. It is not as easy as it sounds. Unlike earlier epidemic reactions, we turned our back towards the world. It neither protects us or our leadership.
Coronaviruses are difficult in thin countries with thinner health care systems. Haiti and Africa should be concerned. They cannot go there without help from America or whoever wants to lead. Those risks also exist in parts of the US. Alabama and Arkansas are now starting to see spikes. Their ICU capacity is low and is at the alert level in Alabama.
We do not have summer flaws in America. We are not exploding but mortality is not falling materially. It is not like that between waves. But even if we do, what happens in Brazil means that we are at risk here. If we are not doing our work together then business, travel, and seasonal changes, such as we do not fall into the flu season.
Trump announced coronavirus which is similar to declaring non-existent in February. I stopped many congressional briefings today. Once, I was told to stop asking for investment in public health and to focus on the economy. I said what I think I am doing.
Whether domestically, or whether it comes from overseas, we need testing, contact tracing, and isolation capabilities. And vigilance. It is tiring but we should keep doing it. The best way to do this would be to start taking care of the world and our vulnerable population again.