March 29, 2020

THAT DOESN'T END WELL:

Brazil's Bolsonaro makes life-or-death gamble on coronavirus (DAVID BILLER, 3/29/20, Times of Israel)

"The Brazilian needs to be studied. He doesn't catch anything. You see a guy jumping into sewage, diving in, right? Nothing happens to him. I think a lot of people were already infected in Brazil, weeks or months ago, and they already have the antibodies that help it not proliferate," Bolsonaro said. "I'm hopeful that's really a reality."


MORE:
BRAZIL'S GANGS DO WHAT BOLSONARO WON'T: ENFORCE A LOCKDOWN (Andres Schipani and Bryan Harris, 3/29/20, OZY)

With President Jair Bolsonaro dismissing the pandemic as "sniffles" and criticizing regional lockdown measures, the country's drug gangs and paramilitary groups have stepped in to enforce social distancing to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

"Whoever is caught on the street will learn how to respect the measure. We want the best for the population. If the government is unable to manage, organized crime resolves," read one message sent to residents of a Rio de Janeiro slum.

Another message, delivered to residents of a different slum, read: "We are on the streets taking risks so that you can sleep in peace. We leave our families to protect yours, so, then respect the order we have given." It warned that for anyone caught on the street after 10 p.m., "it will be bad!"

The involvement of criminal organizations more commonly associated with bloodshed and violence than disease mitigation strategies underscores the severity of the situation facing Brazil's slums, home to more than 11 million people who typically live in cramped makeshift dwellings, often with limited access to clean water.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brazil rose to 2,985 and 77 deaths on Friday -- a greater than tenfold increase from the previous week. Experts fear that an explosion in coronavirus infections could contribute to social unrest in communities long neglected by the state.


Posted by at March 29, 2020 8:39 AM

  

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