January 14th, 2022


1. COVID cases increase with unvaccinated people most affected

The Omicron variant has led to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Brazil. The pandemic has already killed 620,000 people and infected over 22 million in the country.

After six months of decreasing case numbers, the moving average of new cases per day is once again above 50,000. The number of deaths, however, remains stable.

Some states say that the majority of people currently in hospitals are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Data from the State Secretariat of Health in Maranhão reveals that 80% of people who are in hospitals due to COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, 90% of the hospitalized are not fully vaccinated.

The increase in the number of cases has led state governments to adopt measures to encourage social distancing. In São Paulo, Governor João Doria recommended that events be held at only 70% capacity. In the Federal District, Governor Ibaneis Rocha indefinitely prohibited events with large numbers of people.

G1: Após 6 meses, média móvel de casos conhecidos de Covid volta a superar 50 mil por dia no país
G1: 80% dos internados por Covid-19 no Maranhão são de não-vacinados, aponta governo
O Globo: Entre os internados com Covid-19 no Rio, 90% não têm o esquema vacinal completo, e cerca de 40% não tomaram dose alguma

2. Central Bank justifies 2021 inflation rate being above its goal

In a document sent to the Ministry of Economy, Central Bank President Roberto Campos Neto justified the official inflation rate – 10.06% – being above the 3.75% goal for 2021. It was the highest inflation rate since 2015.

Campos Neto said that the rate being above the goal was due to the “increase in prices of transaction goods in the local currency, especially commodity prices” and the increase in electricity prices caused by the water crisis. He also mentioned an imbalance in the supply and demand of raw materials as well as bottlenecks in global production chains caused by the pandemic.

The significant increase in inflation rates, according to Campos Neto, is a global phenomenon, affecting the majority of counties.

Still, according to the document Campos Neto sent to the Central Bank, the price increases that affected Brazilians the most were for fuel and cooking gas – both as a result of increased international oil prices – along with electricity.

Valor Econômico: ‘Inflação importada’ pesou no estouro da meta, diz Campos
O Globo: Choques de oferta e política fiscal, os culpados pelo estouro da meta de inflação
UOL: Inflação fecha 2021 em 10,06%, a maior desde 2015 e bem acima da meta do BC
Banco Central: Carta aberta

3. First poll of 2022 confirms Lula in the lead

A poll by Quaest Consultoria, sponsored by Genial Investimentos, reveals that former president Lula continues to lead voting projections for the 2022 presidential race, with 45% of votes. The first poll of the year suggests that a victory in the first round of votes is possible.

President Jair Bolsonaro polled at 23%.

Former minister and former judge Sergio Moro (Podemos) is third in the poll, at 9%. He is ahead of Ciro Gomes (PDT) – with 5% – and São Paulo State Governor João Doria (PSDB) – who has 3%.

The poll also asked Brazilians about a second round of votes. Lula wins in every scenario.

Valor Econômico: Genial/Quaest: Lula tem 45% das intenções de voto em 1º turno e Bolsonaro, 23%
CNN Brasil: Pesquisa Quaest/Genial: Lula tem 45%, Bolsonaro, 23% e Moro, 9%
Estadão: Pesquisa Genial/Quaest: Lula tem 45% e mantém chance de vitória no 1º turno

4. Federal public servants demand salary increase

Federal public servants are demanding a salary increase and plan a strike for the next week. Some servants have also left leadership positions in protest.

Employees of the Central Bank and of the Brazilian Revenue Department are leading the protest, but employees of at least 19 other departments are planning strikes. They claim their current salaries do not match inflation rates.

Public servants became increasingly angry following President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to only increase salaries for the federal police – his supporters. He justified the decision with budgetary restrictions for 2022. Other departments in the federal government felt disrespected.

Economy Minister Paulo Guedes met with National Union of Auditors (SINDIFISCO) President Isac Moreno to discuss salary increases, but no decision has been reached.

Folha de S. Paulo: Servidores de ao menos 19 categorias podem paralisar atividades por reajuste
CNN Brasil: Pressão por reajuste de servidores envolve possíveis efeitos políticos e fiscais
Valor Econômico: Servidores federais param dia 18 por reposição salarial

5. Opposition wants another COVID CPI

Following the worsening of the pandemic, with a record increase in cases, the opposition is trying to create a new Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (CPI) to investigate the Bolsonaro administration.

Senator Randolfe Rodrigues submitted a formal request to start a new CPI to the Senate. He needs to convince 1/3 of senators to have his request accepted.

In the document, Randolfe lists as reasons to open another CPI: “the delay and shortage of vaccines for children, the lack of booster shots for 2022, the President’s attack on ANVISA technicians and on vaccination, the lack of a testing policy, and the data blackout in the Ministry of Health, affecting the monitoring of the pandemic”.

President Jair Bolsonaro publicly dismissed Randolfe’s request, accusing the senator of trying to damage the President’s image in order to gain political support.

Valor Econômico: Senador Randolfe pede abertura de nova CPI da Covid
O Globo: Randolfe apresenta pedido para instalação de nova CPI da Covid no Senado
Poder360: Randolfe diz que irá protocolar requerimento para nova CPI