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Case study

Covid-19 Pandemic Case Study: Brazil

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The Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil comes in the wake of the political polarisation that was accentuated in the 2014 presidential elections and the scientific denialism used by the current government of President Jair Bolsonaro. Experts estimate that the way the president handles the most serious health crisis in recent decades is a reflection of this scenario.

The denial of science is a problem that already existed in this government with the denial of global warming and of  deforestation in the Amazon. With the pandemic, it got worse. Now added to it is the denialism of social isolation, the use of masks and the spread of false news about miraculous medicines.

The risk of the collapse of the health system and the strong economic recession caused by the pandemic aggravated political polarisation and, with it, the dispute for narratives.


Read all Covid-19 in the Global South case studies here.

Product details
Date of Publication
December 2020
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

1. The Pandemic Opens Wide Problems
1.1. Pandemic and Informality
1.2. Work Overload and Violence Mark the Confinement of Brazilian Women
1.3. Covid-19 and the Vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples and Their Traditional Territories
1.4. The Pandemic and the Black Population
2. Brazil’s Lack of Preparation for Facing the Pandemic and the Role of SUS
2.1. The Role of the Unified Health System (SUS) in Relation to Covid-19
2.2. Little Testing, Little Covid-19 Tracking
3. The New Normal and Its Challenges
3.1. Economic and Social Impacts
3.2. The Effects of the Pandemic in Education
3.3. The Race for the Vaccine
4. Political Effects of the Pandemic
5. Multilateral Cooperation and International Partner Organisations
6. Expectations for Co-operation with the United States and Europe
7. References