Brazil has exceeded 300,000 deaths from covid-19 this Wednesday, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The brand arrives on the same day that the new Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, spoke for the first time as head of the portfolio, the fourth in the government of Jair Bolsonaro after the departure of Eduardo Pazuello on the 15th. His statements frustrated those who they expected a radical measure to reverse the rising death curve in the country. “Who wants the confinement? Nobody wants the confinement. We need to impose efficient sanitary measures, “said Queiroga,” even because the population does not adhere to the closure. We need masks and distance ”. This Wednesday 2,009 deaths were registered, with a total of 300,685 victims. Despite the number, Minister Queiroga has ruled out a national lockdown.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been minimizing the impact of the pandemic in Brazil for a year. In March of last year, he called the disease “fluzinha” and asked the governors and mayors not to apply the strategy of “scorched earth” in their territories, that is, the total stoppage of activities. At that time, Brazil had 46 dead and the Brazilian president appeared in public without a mask in the midst of crowds. But after a year, and with insufficient vaccines, the country exceeded 300,000 deaths and 12.1 million infected. Only now is the Government rehearsing a coordinated action between powers, with a crisis cabinet that Bolsonaro delayed as long as he could. Even so, disorganization spreads: this week, the Ministry of Health even announced the change in the way to register the victims of the disease, which would lead to a decrease in daily data. Following complaints from the States, he revoked the amendment.
Bolsonaro promised to create a national pandemic monitoring committee, which will be made up of representatives of the Executive, state governments and Congress. The measure responds to a demand by 1,500 economists, bankers and businessmen published over the weekend, which demanded national confinement as well as the end of the false dilemma between saving lives and recovering the economy. “Life comes first,” the president said this morning. But his method of preserving lives, as the new Health Minister has shown, does not match the urgency of the moment. Bolsonaro made it clear that, even with the temporary change of discourse, he will promote the use of drugs of proven ineffectiveness against covid-19, such as chloroquine and ivermectin. “We take care of the possibility of early treatment, this is the responsibility of the Minister of Health, who respects the right and duty of the doctor [de usar medicamentos] to treat the infected ”, said the president after a meeting with the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luiz Fux.
The pressure of the Brazilians for efficient measures reached the ears of the president on Tuesday with a strong cacerolazo in several Brazilian capitals. The protest occurred while Bolsonaro spoke to the entire country about a plan against the coronavirus. The National Congress has also asked for concrete actions, when the elections are one year away. In recent weeks, there have been threats of retaliation on projects of interest to the government if the president did not lead the fight against the pandemic.
Centrão, a group of center-right parties that are part of its parliamentary base, demanded a more active role from Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo in the negotiations on vaccines and supplies. This was expressed at the meeting on Wednesday by the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL). The legislator said that this is the time to remove the ideology of fighting the pandemic.
The suggestion to create a commission was made by parliamentarians and presented by the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG). In his speech after the meeting, Pacheco reinforced that the one who should lead this commission is the president, but he made himself available to be the interlocutor with the governors of the 27 states and the Federal District. “It is necessary that we all collaborate with national unity to help the Brazilian State,” he said.
The creation of the committee coincides with the return of Lula da Silva to the political career. Two weeks ago, in his first demonstration after the restoration of his political rights, the former president demanded that Bolsonaro create a working group like the one announced on Wednesday. “Many of these deaths could have been avoided if the Government had done the basic thing. The art of governing is not easy, it is the art of making decisions. If the president respected the people, he would have created a crisis committee in March 2020, “Lula said.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.