It‘s 2020 and when people find out I am a Brazilian, it turned quite common to ask me: „How is your family doing? I‘ve seen dreadful reports about the pandemic in Brazil“.
That‘s right. The pandemic is ravaging my home like no other place, save from the USA, but that‘s no real reference since they don‘t have a universal health care system and have a president who first ignored and they downplayed the gravity of the situation. But Brazil unfortunately has a president who thinks like that too.
One can argue that we are performing slightly better than the worst because of our health care system (SUS), which is designed to take care of everybody and anybody. You don‘t have to pay a cent for it, it‘s all funded by taxes.
This system is far from being perfect and it‘s extremely overloaded, since Brazil is a country where you can still find poverty and inequality, which means that in some states, the intensive care stations are 100% occupied and there are some cities in the countryside that don‘t even dispose of such.
Solidarity also plays an important role. There are a lot of good things going on that are being organized by the population. This is even more important when we look at the most vulnerable areas, like in the favelas.
Unfortunately one can see in Brazil what is also happening in the USA: Covid-19 is killing more among the poor black people. It‘s a disgrace.
What about Joao Pessoa?
Well, one can say Joao Pessoa is „lucky“, if one can talk about luck in this horrible situation. Brazil is a federation and the federal state of Paraiba has implemented the prevention measures early enough. Joao Pessoa closed shops, restaurants and all services considered non essencial, leaving only supermarkets and pharmacies open.
Even the beaches were closed to the public and to this day they still are. Just a few days ago the local government allowed the practice of sports at the sidewalk (because we have to keep ourselves healthy anyway), but if you are caught lying on the beach or swimming, the police will send you home.
The curve went down in Joao Pessoa and so far is being kept down. People have to wear masks and keep a safe distance. Yet, like everywhere else, there are quite a considerable amount of people who disrespect the recommendations and shrug to the pandemic. We all know somebody that thinks that way, right?
The health authorities even keep an information portal with the current statistics of confirmed and suspected cases, recovered and deceased, the percentage of free beds at intensive care, etc. It‘s quite detailed and you can also check it here, if you like.
As for myself, I can only be glad that at least in my hometown things didn‘t go so wild like in some other areas of Brazil. I have already accepted the fact that this year I won‘t be able to fly to Joao Pessoa to visit my family and friends, and this is really a pity.
Let‘s continue hoping that a cure or a vaccine is developed as soon as possible!