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After Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro previously underestimated the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) threat, which has resulted in over 3 million confirmed cases worldwide as of April 28, a spotlight is being shone onto the South American continent, which appears to be the next pandemic hotspot.
In a public statement on March 23, Bolsonaro urged the community to proceed as normal, insisting that “Our lives have to go on. Jobs must be kept…” On March 25, two days after the announcement, Brazil recorded 2,247 coronavirus-related cases and 46 deaths. The president’s decision is reportedly unpopular within the nation, especially due to the weak public healthcare infrastructure which has been crippled by years of budget cuts.
Some claim there is a method behind Bolsonaro’s tendency to sow public confusion, calling it the rise of “Bolsonarismo” – in essence, a war against the establishment and what is deemed politically correct.
As the southern hemisphere nation approaches winter when there is also a predicted increase in respiratory illnesses, the country has already recorded over 67,000 cases – and an increase of 945 from the day earlier on April 28 and an additional 60 deaths – and a total death toll to 4,603.
This comes amid a time when rigid lockdown regulations have been relaxed and allowed previous hotspots such as Spain and Iran to start reopening their economies. Furthermore, several states in the United States have also gradually started easing stringent lockdown regulations.