Scott talked some days ago about how Brazil didn’t take real coordinated efforts, and as a brazillian living in the country’s largest city, I’m here to both defend my country and say that things are much worse than a lack of coordination.
The government, both at federal and state level, took quarantine measures earlier than other countries did (according to the Johns Hopkins institute), compared to number of confirmed cases. We officially closed schools at about 100~ confirmed cases, with parents refusing to take their kids to school much earlier. (Per comparison, Lombardy closed at about 200 cases or so).
They’re also taking measures to have a semi-UBI going on so people have spending money for basics and utilities. Brazil also has much more robust work laws than US, thus people aren’t at such a risk of sudden unemployment without social safety nets that can last them through this pandemic. They’re also pushing for landlords and companies to open negotiations for rent and utilities.
The biggest factor here is the brazillian people, which are simply not caring about what the media has to tell them. Barely two weeks of quarantine in, and people are going outside and finding ways to restart their normal convenient lives.
Stores will open and work normally, but restrict the number of clients inside, thus forcing people to wait in long queues on the sidewalks (which is legally public and thus the store can’t be blamed for gathering people despite the current quarantine orders going on. Also for cultural reasons, no one is going to give the 5ft space recommendation. All the queues are as dense and closely packed and near the entrance as they can get away with).
During weekends, people will still throw large illegal parties (baile funk) or go outside to walk in parks, eat street food and unwind under the sun or on our beaches.
I believe that a reason this is happening is because people here largely distrust the media and will prefer to receive their news from chain messages on Whatsapp(Page 122). Thus misjudging the risk or severity of the situation. Another root cause might be risk compensating behavior; since everyone is now washing their hands and using alcohol gel and taking care to not cough on others, thus is safe to go outside and behave normaly if everyone is taking these precautions.
Bonus point: Who has a very dense public transport system and a city population higher than NYC and close to Tokyo’s thus making any attempt of “social distancing” very moot? Yes, Brazil.
This is going to be quite a ride for most of us.