By Cristian Junior for the Saker Blog.
Its done. Brazil reached 350 thousands of pandemic deaths. Although there is the biological factor – the virus itself -, it looks small in front of its social nature. This disease doesn’t mean a “natural accident”. It is the result of the material relations that mankind lays down to the environment. Unplanned urbanization and the destruction of ecosystems, to say the least of the minimum. It’s an interesting look, that although the virus causes death, it doesn’t do it for itself. It depends, to kill, on a social factor. I mean, how human beings reacted socially in front of the problem. To kill, it depends on a lack of vaccines, inputs, ICU vacancies. It depends on a lack of a government that pays the right attention to the problem. Here is the first step to understanding the exorbitant amount of deaths that this pandemic has provoked.
Today it’s not an illusion to think about 500 thousands of deaths until the end of the semester. Some people say that there are just a few if you consider the 12 million people who were infected. It’s a Brazil thing. A country what don’t valorize the human sciences and, because of that, the deaths are count by cold numbers (which are also social elements, not just naturals) and not by History and Sociology ways.
Here everybody knows what is needed to defeat the pandemic. And it is not medicine, since no cure or treatment exists. Basically, 1) an emergency aid to hold people into a 2) severe lockdown (but quickly, because nobody can hold on staying in the home forever) and then yes 3) mass vaccination. And this vaccination has to be exaggerated quickly, to cut the disease in the bud. With a slow vaccination like the one that has been promoted (for social and governmental issues as well, because the government has refused to buy vaccines since August last year – sic) – new strains appear and then we never get out of this vicious cycle! And we, Brazil, understand this, since we have already been a worldwide example of vaccination to be followed. We have the competence and historically articulated strategies. We eradicated measles, we have already vaccinated more than 5 million people in a single day. It is nothing surreal, but very real.
In other words, there is nothing new under the sun, as the famous Portuguese writer Eça de Queirós would say. Workers continue to risk their lives by going to work without the conditions of protection for the performance of their duties. Continue to wonder if your jobs will withstand the new traffic restrictions. Informal people, who have already passed 30 million (a scandalous number!), Have lost hope of formalizing themselves and, contributing to the INSS for social security, who may one day retire in a dignified and humane manner. In fact, although retirement is already a word outside the horizon of expectation. What remains is to work, until death (literally). On the other hand, what you see most today are “sell” or “rent” signs where specifications used to work. Like small companies, indebted to the neck, they are also unsure about the future. They don’t know if they can repay the loan, payrolls, suppliers. They think they have to fire employees, even without having the capital to pay for the repairs. Loans to repay loans.
The emergency aid served, among other things, to show how unequal our society is. R$600.00 was enough to boost the economy with a boom in food and construction. People like you and me, who with that extra buck in their pocket went to the corner grocery store to buy food or finish that roof in the garage. Meanwhile, 20 Brazilians join the Forbes list of billionaires, with record growth during the pandemic. Banks need no comment. This money also served to increase the popularity of Mr. President. Everything indicates that the next one, a quarter of the value, will do neither.
Meanwhile, Mr. President on Saturday strolls through establishments, fomenting agglomerations, without wearing a mask, and, moreover, threatens traders and local officials that the restrictions imposed by governors and mayors will cause them to be “without pay”. Hearing this from anybody, when you are already on the overdraft, with all your credit cards with overrun limits and still haven’t paid that energy bill, makes you feel discouraged. Now, to hear this from no one else than the President of the Republic, speaking directly to you, uh … We are in depression. Both ways.
Cristian Junior is a Brazilian History researcher and teacher. Twitter and Telegram: @cristianlifes.