May 14, 2021
1. Pfizer says Brazilian government ignored five vaccine offers in 2020
The federal government ignored Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine offers at least five times in 2020. Another attempt to sell the vaccine that was made this year was also left unanswered. Pfizer’s general manager in Latin America, Carlos Murillo, revealed the information during his deposition in front of the COVID Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI). The CPI is investigating the federal government’s fight against the pandemic as well as the use of public funds by state governments and cities. According to Murillo, had the government accepted the deal in August 2020, 18.5 million doses would have been available by June 2021.
Senators at the CPI have pointed out that President Jair Bolsonaro was negligent in the purchase of the vaccine. This week, former Communication Secretary Fabio Wajngarten was interviewed by the commission in a tumultuous hearing. Wajngarten almost went to prison for giving a false statement and Senator Flávio Bolsonaro called the CPI rapporteur Renan Calheiros a “jackass.” Wajngarten contradicted himself, defended the president, but said that there was a group acting in parallel with the Ministry of Health in negotiating the purchase of the vaccines. Yesterday, in Alagoas – where Renan Calheiros is from – President Jair Bolsonaro said that the CPI has “a jackass questioning good people.”
2. São Paulo city government reveals that a third of adults has been diagnosed with COVID-19
A study by São Paulo’s city government reveals that 33.5% of the population over 18, and who have yet to receive their vaccinations, have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The data is the result of a serological inquiry that took place from April 26 to April 29. In June 2020, only 9.5% of people in the city of São Paulo had been infected with the virus. By January, 14.1% of the population had been contaminated. According to the study, the majority of the cases were among people with low incomes.
Even though the production of CoronaVac by Instituto Butantan has been suspended due to a lack of ingredients, the country continues its immunization campaign with the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. In many cities, vaccine shortages are resulting in second doses being delayed. As of yesterday, 37.7 million people had taken at least the first dose of the vaccine and 18.8 million had taken both doses. Brazil has registered over 430,000 deaths and 15.3 million people have been contaminated.
Valor Econômico: Estudo aponta contaminação de 33,5% em SP
G1: Butantan paralisa produção à espera de matéria-prima
Folha de S.Paulo: Veja como está a vacinação no país
G1: Leia mais notícias sobre a pandemia
3. Bolsonaro’s administration has its worst approval rating since the beginning of his mandate
The approval rating of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration reached a record low. According to a Datafolha poll, only 24% of voters believe the president’s performance has been great or good, 45% think it has been bad or awful and 30% believe it to be average. In December 2020, the president’s approval rating reaching a record high of 37%. This is the first Datafolha poll in which the president has less received an approval rating below 30%. The poll was conducted this week with 2,071 people in 146 cities. The margin of error is 2%.
The same poll revealed that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would defeat Bolsonaro if the election were this week. Lula would win in first round voting with 41% compared to 23% for Bolsonaro and would also win in a second round of voting with 55% to Bolsonaro’s 32%. Other possible candidates included: Sergio Moro (7%), Ciro Gomes (6%), Luciano Huck (4%) and São Paulo State Governor João Doria (3%).
4. Worsening of the pandemic in March causes 4% drop in business for the service sector
The volume of business for the service sector dropped 4% in March. This was the worst result since June 2020, when the sector experienced a 5.5% drop. In comparison to March 2020, there was a 4.5% increase but, taking the past 12 months into account, there was an overall decrease of 8%. Restrictions introduced due to the pandemic – especially on hotels, bars, and restaurants – were the main drivers behind these results.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), economic activities that saw the largest drop in business from February to March were services provided to families (-27%); “However, we have activities linked to information technology that performed better,” says economist Gustavo Inácio de Moraes, professor at the PUC-RS School of Business. The technology sector saw a 4.1% increase in comparison to February.
5. Deforestation could lead to agribusiness losing R$ 5.7 billion annually
A study by the Remote Sensing Center of Minas Gerais Federal University in partnership with Viçosa Federal University and Bonn University (Germany) reveals that the Brazilian agribusiness sector could lose R$ 5.7 billion (USD $1.08 billion) each year until 2050 due to deforestation in the Amazon, which reached a record high in April. Researchers have identified a link between low agricultural production and the lack of rain and humidity resulting from deforestation.
This week, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said that the U.S. is willing to negotiate cooperating with Brazil – without the threat of sanctions – as soon as immediate results from its environmental policy are presented, such as a significant decrease in deforestation this year. Kerry said that Brazil is responsible for leading solutions to reduce the impact of climate change on the world.
O Globo: Agronegócio pode perder até R$ 5,7 bilhões com desmatamento
Folha de S.Paulo: Brasil tem de liderar ações climáticas, diz Kerry