So there is some justice in this pandemic-stricken world.
Never did the notion of ‘tempting fate’ echo more resoundingly than with the news that Coronavirus denier-in-chief, Jair Bolsonaro, has himself succumbed to the very thing he denies.
“It’s just a little flu” he has said repeatedly from late February, when the virus first made itself known in Brazil. From that moment onwards, Bolsonaro’s Brazil has given the world a lesson in how not to run a country during a global pandemic.
Brazil does have a reputable health care system, this much is true. The nation can indeed claim to have a nationwide system of interlinked hospitals and medical facilities, similar to Britain’s NHS. And in in normal times, it is a well-oiled and efficient system. However the sheer size of Brazil means that the NHS pails into irrelevance when up next to the ‘Sistema Único de Saude’ (SUS) in Brazil.
And, of course these are far from ‘normal times’.
Each ‘hospital’ and ‘Serviço de Saude Publico’ (Public Health Service) is designed to cope with the needs of a country that sits at number 6 in the world population rankings. Each service will have a list of the citizens that it serves, and that can call upon it if needs be.
Regrettably, however, it is here that the issue of size and sheer numbers comes back to haunt Brazil. While this enormous national population can reap huge economic benefits normally; in the shadow of global pandemic, it is a death sentence. Add to this the fact that many of these 212 million people live in conditions where it is impossible to ‘socially distance’ or to maintain any level of physical separation – and you have the ingredients of a perfect storm. This storm is the travesty that we are seeing right now in Brazil.
This ‘cheek by jowl’ nature of Brazilian towns and cities, unfortunately, also explains the speed and rampancy with which Coronavirus has ripped through Brazil. It has now left every other country behind it bar the USA. (And what can be said about the States and their leadership?!)
In light of all of the factors that I have focused on, one can understand the consternation created by Bolsonaro’s flat out refusal to wear a face covering. Even as the whole of his country wore one and as his country galloped up the world fatalities rankings, Bolsonaro still refused.
And the move has come back to bite him. “Burronaro” (“Donkey-narro”) as he is sometimes called in Brazil has finally tested positive for Covid-19, the world press was informed a couple of days ago.
Not that you would wish it on anyone, Coronavirus, but on somebody as evil as Bolsonaro – I think I could be convinced…