Brazil and the state of Florida (USA) are in crisis after an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Denialist governments are going through a difficult time in terms of Covid infections. Photo: Unsplash
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: The consequences of the denialist governments of the Covid-19
Brazil and Florida have more in common than meets the eye. First, both are tropical paradises and boast spectacular beaches. They are also predominantly Latino, in addition, they are places known for their nightlife. However, today they share a worrying reality, both are in crisis due to the Coronavirus. Both are going through a difficult time in terms of COVID-19 infections.
Denialist governments and few measures
Both Brazil and Florida also the fact that they were ruled by denialist politicians since the beginning of the pandemic and this has allowed lax measures to prevent infections. Perhaps, this had not been serious before when self-care was greater and when fear of contagions was a major reason why many people preferred to refrain from going out or having an active social life.
Although both Jair Bolsonaro and Ron DeSantis tried in every way to avoid curfews or strong confinement measures, local governments and the population itself tried to keep infections low. But now, with the start of vaccines and general fatigue, people leave with less care and this affects the rates of infection, and in turn, in the serious cases that have Brazil on the brink of collapse.
It became daily to see the president of Brazil underestimate the threat posed by COVID by refraining from wearing masks. So much so, that he was one of the first world leaders to catch it and later recover.
For his part, the Republican governor of the "Sunshine State" has been news for his little self-care, for frequenting and organizing events where there is no use of masks. It has even prohibited municipal governments from taking their own measures for the use of masks; Even since September 25, 2020, Florida bars and restaurants have been able to open 100% of their capacity.
Florida: The state of mass parties and little control
In Florida, the decisions of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis have had a worrying impact that can be evaluated after weeks. A few days ago, the political head of the state invalidated the fines that several local governments had established as a consequence of violating the biosafety protocols of establishments.
This ended in the viral images of thousands of young Americans celebrating, partying, fighting, and drinking without keeping the minimum distance or preventive measures. Despite the fact that the United States maintains a vaccination rate higher than several countries, it is still far from achieving mass immunity.
Florida is the third state in the country to exceed 2 million positive cases, only below California (3.6 million) and Texas (2.7 million), but surpassing New York (1.9 million), which counts with a larger population.
Wild scenes of spring break partying emerged out of Miami Beach, Florida, over the weekend of March 20-21 as city officials declared a "super spreader" state of emergency. https://t.co/9IojcKYmoH pic.twitter.com/qw0LePXkwj— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 22, 2021
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Brazil at risk of a medical collapse
At present, 25 of the 27 states of the South American giant have an ICU occupancy equal to or greater than 80%, and in 15 they have already exceeded 90%. This has not only brought a shortage of beds but of supplies for the care and treatment of seriously ill patients.
#VIDEO La Organización Panamericana de la Salud alertó sobre el "terrible" aumento de casos de covid-19 en Brasil, y destacó el alza de los contagios en Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay #AFP https://t.co/awarVWQYPk— Agence France-Presse (@AFPespanol) March 23, 2021
To date, Brazil has registered more than 12 million positive cases in the course of the pandemic, with 293 thousand deaths related to the coronavirus. In recent days, the numbers seem to increase exponentially, with more than 2,000 deaths per day, numbers that could increase in the coming weeks.
The epidemiological risk
The most worrying thing about all this is that precisely this is not the most worrying thing. Although it seems absurd, these massive parties and these numbers of infected are the perfect cultures for new mutations of the virus that has already been changing. Fortunately, all these mutations are known so far (Brazilian, South African or British, and even an apparent Indian) are combable with the current vaccines, but this does not guarantee that an immune one can emerge.
Brazil itself has already experienced what it is to generate a much more aggressive and contagious mutation than the first virus. This could be linked to the political position that Bolsonaro decided to take in denying the seriousness of the virus and sabotaging any self-care measures that local governments had to design, given the little (if not null) interest of the national government.