Despite the Covid-19 Crisis in Brazil, Restrictions are Being Lifted

Jacob Nguyen

Last week, Brazil felt the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic. In just one day, 4,195 people were recorded to have died. The state of Sao Paulo and the city of Rio de Janeiro are among the worst in the country in Covid-19 deaths. However, both states plan to ease Coronavirus restrictions. 

Sao Paulo plans to reopen schools, sports events and construction stores. Rio de Janeiro will lift restrictions by allowing bars and restaurants to be open again. The mayor of the city Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, justifies the easing of Coronavirus restrictions by saying that the imposed restrictions would not be an option as it would further hurt the economy. 

However, easing restrictions is the exact opposite of what many institutions and medical specialists recommend for Brazil. They recommend a national and coordinated lockdown as Brazil only has 2.8 percent of the population fully vaccinated. According to the public biomedical research center that is currently working with vaccine-maker AstraZeneca, it is believed that only a lockdown can prevent April from being worse than March, the country’s most fatal month of over 66,000 deaths. It is estimated that a national lockdown lasting 30 days could save over 22,000 lives, but Brazilian authorities resist implementing measures to avoid economical damage.  

Edinho Silva, one of the few mayors that have gone against the tide, imposed a full lockdown in the city of Araraquara. Supermarkets and public transports were closed for 10 days in February and cases felt a drop soon after. Though the decision prompted many death threats against him, it was a decision that he felt was necessary to curve the cases in the city. The remaining restrictions after the 10 day lockdown seemed to have worked as Araraquara felt three consecutive days of no recorded deaths last week. “Lockdown is not a choice, it is imposed by reality,” says Silva.