With more than 155,000 deaths and over five million cases reported as of 22nd October 2020, COVID-19 has been devastating for the giant of Latin America, Brazil. This makes it currently the country with the third highest number of diagnosed cases and second when it comes to deaths.
With these figures it is unsurprising that Brazil was ranked highest for suffering anxiety and second highest for insomnia among the 16 countries polled in our Ipsos Essentials tracker back in May.
The conflicting messages from federal, regional and local governments have undoubtedly created additional tensions and anxiety among the population.
The changing of three Ministers of Health during the peak of the pandemic is an illustration of the political confusion that has reigned over the country.
In spite of all this political instability and visible failures in the response to the pandemic, an Ipsos survey conducted among healthcare professionals in Brazil in April 2020 showed that 87% of Brazilian doctors considered the measures taken by the then Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, to be very effective.
The current controversy about the production of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine in a Brazil, which was initially approved by the Ministry of Health then vetoed by President Bolsonaro, is another example of the country’s lack of clarity and consistency. 88% of Brazilians would get the vaccine for COVID-19 if it were available, as shown in our Global Advisor survey on behalf of the World Economic Forum.
What has helped Brazil stay afloat since March 2020 is the emergency aid (“Auxílio Emergencial”) from the Federal government. This has significantly reduced the negative effects of the economic crisis amongst those most vulnerable (informal workers, unemployed and self-employed people). In August 2020, 67 million of Brazilians, almost a third of the total population, had received this emergency help.
This aid has positively impacted consumption, as shown by the Ipsos’ Consumer Confidence Index. This indicator in Brazil has grown over the past three months, peaking at 43.7 in October. Nevertheless, Brazil’s Consumer Confidence Index still is under 50 (the mid-way point of the confidence spectrum) highlighting Brazilians’ overall concern with the current economic situation.
However 64% of Brazilians want the country to focus on improving social outcomes when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, while 36% want the priority to be on the economy, according to our global Ipsos survey for the Social Imperative Progress.
The health and economic crises in Brazil have highlighted the already well-known social inequalities of the country and shone the light on other inequalities.