We Will All Die One Day

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a long and devastating shadow over Brazil, transcending the boundaries of a mere health crisis. In the vast expanse of this country-continent, the toll has reached staggering proportions, marking it as the most profound human catastrophe in its history. Over the past three years, the relentless onslaught of COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 700,000 Brazilians, securing Brazil’s position as the second-highest death toll worldwide. Yet, this statistic merely scratches the surface, unable to fully encapsulate the gravity of this unparalleled tragedy.

Compounding the crisis, Brazil has been grappling with an unabating economic recession since 2013. This recession has provided fertile ground for the virus to exploit the existing fault lines and disparities within the country, corroding an already beleaguered society. The rise in poverty coupled with the persistence of sprawling urban slums in mega cities has facilitated the rapid spread of the virus through densely packed and impoverished neighborhoods.

Covid-19 has not only claimed lives but has strained essential services to the brink. Morgues and cemeteries are overwhelmed, with hundreds of thousands succumbing to the virus’s relentless effects. The city of Manaus, capital of the Amazonas state, stands as a poignant symbol of state negligence, witnessing repeated collapses of the public health system, depleted hospitals running out of oxygen, and hundreds perishing at home without medical support.

Former president Jair Bolsonaro, a self-proclaimed “Covid-19 skeptic” and “anti-vax,” has played a controversial role in exacerbating the crisis. His dismissive rhetoric, labeling COVID-19 as a “little flu,” mocking its victims, and even threatening the nation with a coup, has hindered the collective efforts to combat the pandemic. In November 2020, he callously asserted, “We will all die one day,” attempting to rationalize his conduct.