Bolsonaro "Brewing Covid Variants, Left, Right, and Centre"

Rightwing politicians have a pretty lousy record of handling the Covid-19 pandemic. From Trump to Bolsonaro to Modi, to any number of Red State state houses and our own Kenney and Ford, their insistence on prioritizing their economies over the public health issues have led to predictable calamity.

Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is the brashest of the far right loons. As Covid swept his country, Bolsonaro told Brazilians to "stop whining." Like Trump, he compared the virus to the flu. Now Brazil has turned into a pandemic threat to Latin America.

Brazil keeps churning out new variants including the deadly P1 that is spreading through Latin America.

“It’s not just a much more contagious variant but it also increases the levels of reinfection, which reduces the efficacy of vaccines,” said Antonio Quispe, a Peruvian epidemiologist who said P1’s “rapid and violent” spread was dire news for the region.

“The Europeans are right to be afraid about what is happening in Brazil,” said Marcos Boulos, an infectious disease specialist from the University of São Paulo who said uncontrolled outbreaks such as Brazil’s provided the ideal breeding grounds for variants. “The more transmission there is, the more variants appear … The situation is very, very serious,” Boulos said.

Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian scientist who has become one of the most outspoken critics of president Jair Bolsonaro’s denialist Covid response, said government inaction had helped turn Latin America’s most populous nation into a global coronavirus threat. “Brazil is like a brewery and it’s brewing variants left, right and centre,” Nicolelis said, warning that while some mutations might hamper the virus’s ability to spread, others might could make it even more transmissible or lethal.

Hospitals across Brazil reported being inundated with Covid patients, many disturbingly young, and Brazil’s death toll nearly doubled, from just over 195,000 at the start of January to 380,000 now. By March, the variant, which has now been detected in eight South American countries, was invading Brazil’s neighbours, too: sweeping west into the Peruvian Amazon, leapfrogging the Andes, and laying siege to Lima, more than 1,300 miles to Manaus’s south-west.

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