December 11, 2020


1. Use of coronavirus vaccine stirs political clash between Bolsonaro and São Paulo Governor 

It is unclear when Brazil will begin a mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus. Every day, the government releases then retracts information, making it unclear which vaccine will be approved. This week, São Paulo State Governor João Doria announced that citizens in the state will be vaccinated beginning January 25th – the date on which the state capital celebrates its anniversary. He also said that production of the Chinese vaccine – CoronaVac – has begun at Instituto Butantan. Governor Doria’s decision has additional implications, as he is likely to be President Jair Bolsonaro’s biggest rival in the 2022 presidential election.

Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello initially said that there was no guarantee that CoronaVac would be approved in time. Later, he said the federal government could approve any of the vaccines available in up to 72 hours. Now, he admits to the possibility of vaccinating Brazilians in December – through an accelerated process due to the emergency – with the Pfizer vaccine, which is already in use in some countries. “Emergency use could now take place in December, for example, if we make a deal with Pfizer. The ‘if’ is because we are still negotiating the deal,” he said.

O Estado de S. Paulo: SP inicia produção da vacina Coronavac
Folha de S.Paulo: Vacinação em SP começará em janeiro, diz Doria
O Globo: Ministro recua e diz que governo pode vacinar neste mês
G1: Saiba como está o processo de cada vacina

2. COVID-19 causes more deaths in every region of the country

In 21 states and in the Federal District there has been an increase in the average number of daily deaths caused by the coronavirus. Only Amazonas and Maranhão have registered a drop in cases. States and capitals have increased restrictions to avoid the spread of the disease, especially due to the holidays. Without mentioning numbers, President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the press for “fearmongering.” “We are still going through the very end of the pandemic,” he said.

The country has registered over 179,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and at least 6.7 million people have been contaminated. However, the true number could be much higher due underreporting and cases of asymptomatic people. The nation’s average number of daily deaths over the past 7 days was 642 people, a 34% increase in comparison to what had been registered two weeks ago. Yesterday, the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of coronavirus reinfection in the country. A 37-year-old doctor was contaminated by two different strains of the virus. The case was registered by the state governments of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba.

O Globo: Média de mortes aumenta em 21 estados e no DF
O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro enxerga “finalzinho da pandemia”
Folha de S.Paulo: Governo confirma 1º caso de reinfecção pelo Covid
G1: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo

3. Increase in prices of inputs is the highest since 1994, pushing inflation

From October 2019 to October 2020 the increase in the prices of inputs was the largest ever registered since the beginning of the Real Plan in 1994. According to research from FGV’s Brazilian Institute of Economics, the 68% increase in the price of raw materials drove inflation in other sectors of the economy. In the food sector, the price of soy oil increased by 108.6% for producers and 99.1% for consumers. Meats had a 64.5% and 33.6% increase for producers and consumers, respectively. “It is impossible for the production chain to retain increases this size for too long,” says economist Andre Braz.

The official inflation rate for November increased 0.89%, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. The prices of food items and fuel caused the increase. The Extended National Consumer Price Index accumulated for the year is at 3.13%. In the past 12 months the rate increased by 4.31%. Over the last year, the price of food items increased 21.13%. “It is better or less bad to have inflation than shortage. If farmers had stayed at home it would have been bad for the entire country. We know that people can’t think when hungry,” said President Jair Bolsonaro.

Folha de S.Paulo: Pressão sobre preços é a maior desde o Plano Real
Valor Econômico: Inflação é melhor que desabastecimento, diz presidente

4. Brazil announces it will neutralize greenhouse gas emissions by 2060

Brazil announced its commitment to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, following a clause in the Paris Agreement which states that countries must update their goals every five years. Environment Minister Ricardo Salles made the announcement, mentioning the possibility of achieving this goal before the deadline if developed countries provide at least USD $10 billion to Brazilian initiatives for sustainable activities.

The Paris Agreement predicts that global warming will increase by 3ºC this century and has the goal of limiting this number to between 1.5 and 2ºC. Following the agreement’s demands is one of the conditions to maintain a trade deal between Mercosur and the European Union. Salles confirmed that Brazil will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37% – compared to 2005 levels – by 2025. The most recent official report on deforestation in the Amazon, published at the end of November, shows that the country lost 11,000 km² of forest from August 2019 to July 2020, a 9.5% increase in deforestation rates compared to the previous 12 months.

Valor Econômico: Brasil anuncia meta de descarbonizar economia em 40 anos
Folha de S.Paulo: Ministro promete neutralizar gases-estufa até 2060

5. Minister who was accused of election fraud in 2018 is fired after criticizing General 

Tourism Minister Marcelo Álvaro was fired after he publicly complained about the behavior of Secretary of Government Luiz Eduardo Ramos, a four-star General. In a social media group chat for members of the government, the minister called the general a traitor who “cowardly” attacks President Jair Bolsonaro’s conservative supporters. In a conversation shared on social media, Bolsonaro said that the now former minister was “doing a nice job, but had an issue.”

Álvaro had previously retained his position even after he had been accused by the Federal Police of electoral identity theft, criminal association and misappropriation of public money that should have been given to PSL candidates in the 2018 election. Members of the government have said that the minister’s dismissal is the first in a series of changes planned for the Ministry in January. According to the President`s allies, following the election of the new presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, the government will need to make changes to balance political forces.

Folha de S.Paulo: Ministro do Turismo é demitido após criticar general
O Globo: Bolsonaro demite ministro do Turismo