January 8, 2021


1. Brazil records over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths; São Paulo requests registration of Chinese vaccine

Over 200,000 people have died and 8 million Brazilians have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Brazil has the second highest number of deaths due to COVID-19, behind only the U.S., where over 360,000 deaths have been recorded. Without providing details, the São Paulo state government said it will vaccinate the entire population of the state by the end of the year. Mass immunization – which will be divided into stages according to risk classification – should begin this month with CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by the Chinese lab Sinovac in partnership with the São Paulo state government. The vaccine is 78% effective against the virus.
Yesterday, Governor João Doria – a political opponent of President Jair Bolsonaro – said that the state has 10 million doses of the “Brazilian vaccine” in stock. After São Paulo disclosed the data on effectiveness of the vaccine, the Ministry of Health announced it will buy 100 million doses of the drug. However, the national vaccination plan has not been disclosed. The federal government also anticipates the arrival o 212 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine – which was developed in partnership with Fiocruz – and 42 million doses through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative.

Folha de S. Paulo: Vacina chinesa tem 78% de eficácia
O Estado de S. Paulo: Ministério diz que utilizará vacina chinesa
O Estado de S. Paulo: Sem dar detalhes, Doria promete vacinar toda população
G1: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia

2. New surge in COVID-19 cases leave hospitals close to full capacity

Hospitals across Brazil are showing signs of overcrowding. The situation is worrying in the Amazonas state, but is also being seen in wealthier states. The city of São Paulo and its surrounding cities have hospitals with 100% occupation rates, both in infirmaries and ICUs. The number of deaths in December (21,829) increased 65% in comparison to November (13,236). The month with the largest number of deaths – 32,881 people – was July 2020.
Emergency hospitals have been reopened in many municipalities. A previous study published by São Paulo’s University last week identified the new, more contagious strain of the virus in São Paulo and in 30 other countries. According to virologists, there is a greater risk of spread due to holiday celebrations.

CNN: Mortes crescem 65% em dezembro
O Estado de S. Paulo: Hospitais de campanha são reabertos
Folha de S.Paulo: Hospitais de SP voltam a ter 100% de ocupação
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo

3. Bolsonaro’s “broke” Brazil becomes “wonderful” a day later 

In a conversation with his supporters on Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro said that Brazil is “broke” and that there was nothing he could do. The conversation was streamed on social media and was poorly received by experts, who argue that Brazil needs reforms. “Boss, Brazil is broke and I can’t do a thing. I wanted to alter the Income Tax scheme, but there was this virus, which is empowered by the shameless press,” said the president.
Due to the negative fallout, the president discussed the subject again on Wednesday, the following day. “It was a mess yesterday, did you see? That I said Brazil was broke. No. Brazil is great. It’s wonderful,” he said. Yesterday, Bolsonaro talked about it once again. He said he was referring to the public sector, which due to the pandemic alone is R$ 700 billion (USD $129.9 billion) in debt. “Look at the mayors. They are at their limit,” said Bolsonaro.

Folha de S.Paulo: Presidente diz que país ‘está quebrado’ e cita prefeituras
Folha de S.Paulo: País mantém R$ 305 bilhões em privilégios tributários

4. Net exit of dollars in 2020 is the second largest in history

The net exit of U.S. dollars from Brazil in 2020 was the second largest ever registered. Nearly USD $28 billion in resources have left the country, a continuation of what has been happening over the past two years. In December alone, USD $8.35 billion from contracted exchanges have been moved out of the country. Of those, USD $3.93 billion were from commercial accounts and USD $4.42 billion from financial accounts. In 2020, the devaluation of the Brazilian real in comparison to the U.S. dollar was 22.7%.
The weak performance in 2020 was influenced by financial operations with a net exit of USD $51.7 billion. In the commercial account, which considers the contracted exchange rate for exports subtracted from imports, there was a surplus of USD $23.2 billion. In 2019, USD $44.7 billion left the country, a record. This means that in the past two years USD $72.7 billion left the country. For comparison, in 2018 the deficit was USD $995 million.

Folha de S. Paulo: Fluxo cambial fica negativo em US$ 28 bilhões

5. Parties form opposition to Bolsonaro-backed candidate for Chamber of Deputies presidency

At least 11 opposition parties and allies have shown their support for the candidacy of Baleia Rossi (MDB) for President of the Chamber of Deputies. The candidate promises to be independent from the administration and is opposing Arthur Lira – a member of PP in Alagoas. Lira has the support of President Jair Bolsonaro and 10 other parties. In theory, Rossi holds 287 votes against 203 predicted for Lira.
Members of the Chamber will vote on February 1st in an election that will be key for the last two years of Bolsonaro’s mandate. Opposition parties have offered support to Rossi in exchange for him not hindering investigations of the administration or ignoring impeachment requests. The president of the Chamber of Deputies decides which bills will be voted on and whether deputies will discuss proposals to remove the president from office.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Candidato à presidência da Câmara tem apoio da oposição
Valor Econômico: Aliados de Lira querem voto presencial