Brazil, the insane cheerfulness

The picture consist in a hand-drawn wooden hut in the middle of the Amazon forest, with some people inside it
Brazil, 2020

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has played too much with fire and burned himself. He has never brought the mask and even mocked those who did.  

But on July 7th symptoms and tests revealed that he became infected. He has reassured his compatriots that they were not in danger – at most it was a simple flu.

Instead, now his country occupies the second place in the world ranking, after the Us, for having the largest number of pandemic victims: 65,000 infected and more than 1.5 million contaminated.

Despite the increasing spread of the virus, Bolsonaro has encouraged the reopening of bars and other venues so that they can operate at least at 50%.

Thus, in Sao Paulo, the hardest-hit city, and in Rio, which was also severely affected by Covid, the average contagion rate is well above 1:1. Not to mention the asymptomatic people and the low number of examinations which have been carried out.

The Covid-19 shadow on the Amazon

However, the region about which people are most worried, is the Amazon, where – as a percentage – the infection rate is incredibly high.

In April, Manaus reported a 578% increase in deaths. In addition, the number of victims is certainly very underestimated, given the environmental difficulties in which the tests are carried out.

The mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgilio Neto, has repeatedly called for devices to combat the pandemic – fans, insulating suits – medicines, but he has not obtained adequate support.

Malnutrition, lack of hygiene and poverty make it even more difficult to combat the virus and the whole local community is experiencing a feeling of dramatic abandonment.

The gathering of the clouds

Many rural communities are not properly mapped. If indigenous people move to cities, they are neglected by the health services that take priority care of the urban residents.

The indigenous people, who live in the farthest region from the cities, maybe in the rainforest, fear that loggers in search of forests to be chopped down, could carry the virus.

Bolsonaro‘s measures, which loosen controls on arson, have increased the number of criminal gangs operating in the Amazon, who are moreover taking advantage of the fear of the pandemic to act undisturbed.

The planet’s lung now faces the fire season – which begins in July – and ecologists fear the worst.