Economic recovery put to a haltThe COVID-19 pandemic has also affected Brazil’s economy and projections of growth. The South American powerhouse was showing the first signs of recovery, after a severe economic crisis which hit the country in 2014. Since then, its gross domestic product (GDP) had been partially recovering, and until February 28, 2020, a growth of 2.3 percent was projected for the upcoming year. Ten months later, a GDP decrease of 4.4 percent was expected. In parallel, the unemployment rate in Brazil soared throughout the pandemic, standing at 12.1 percent as of October 2021. However, since May 2021, this rate has been decreasing at a fast pace.
Additional pressure on a strained health systemAs in other nations across the globe, the coronavirus represents a major challenge to the overall health system in Brazil. The country’s health security index indicates a relatively average capacity among Latin American nations to promptly address an epidemic. Yet, in March 2020, more than one third of Brazilians believed the country was not prepared to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, there were approximately 6.6 thousand hospitals in Brazil in 2020, nearly 300 less than in 2010. Meanwhile, the rate of hospital beds in the country consistently decreased over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic adds extra pressure on a society that had already been struggling to provide appropriate healthcare for its residents.
Political disputes amidst the pandemicThe Brazilian government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, under the administration of Jair Bolsonaro, has caused a political crisis resulting from a divide on how to handle the spread of the disease. Already in March, Brazil’s Ministry of Health declared that each state should devise guidelines to fight the virus and strongly recommended social distancing and self-isolation. Meanwhile, the president dismissed the severity of the pandemic, and encouraged people to “go back to normality”. Such contrast might explain why, around one year into the pandemic, more than half of Brazilians surveyed disapproved of how Bolsonaro has addressed the situation, whereas roughly one third disapproved the Ministry’s or state governor's response to the matter. Regardless of political allegiance, as the number of COVID-19 deaths in Brazil surpassed the 100 thousand mark in early August, the largest share of Brazilians agreed that not enough was done to prevent it.
Find the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus pandemic in the world under Statista’s COVID-19 facts and figures site.