October 2, 2020


1. São Paulo schedules coronavirus vaccination for December

São Paulo state’s government will begin to vaccinate the population against coronavirus from December 15th. Healthcare professionals will be the first to receive the vaccine. The date was set after the state government signed a contract that will supply 46 million doses of CoronaVac. The vaccine is being produced by the Chinese lab Sinovac and tested in São Paulo through a partnership with Instituto Butantã. People will receive two doses of the vaccine in 14-day intervals. The government invested USD $90 million in the vaccine and is waiting for the third round of tests to conclude before authorizing the product in Brazil. By February 2021, 14 million more doses of the vaccine will be available.

Some experts have have raised concerns over announcing a date before the conclusion of testing. According to virologist Alvaro Furtado da Costa, from São Paulo’s University Hospital das Clínicas, none of the vaccines tested have shown an efficiency rate of more than 50%, a rate which would justify approval. “Euphoria and expectations are really high, but all vaccines and technologies need scientific evidence that they work,” he said. Yesterday, AstraZeneca submitted an authorization request to the federal government for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine which is being tested in a partnership with Oxford University and Fiocruz. Studies indicate that, for now, the country is experiencing a drop in the number of cases and daily deaths. Over 144,000 people have died and 4.8 million have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Brazil.

Folha de S.Paulo: População de SP será uma das primeiras a tomar vacina
G1: Governo vai analisar primeiro registro de vacina
O Globo: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo

2. Incomes drop and unemployment increases 13.8% during the pandemic

The unemployment rate in Brazil, which was announced on Wednesday, increased to 13.8% from May to July, meaning that 13.13 million people are currently out of a job and 7.2 million jobs have been lost in total. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, this is the highest unemployment rate since 2012, and the largest number of people out of a job in the last four years. The number of people who are unemployed, who are overqualified for their current jobs or who have given up looking for a job shows that 52 million people have been affected by the situation in the job market.

Brazilian workers who have retained their jobs during the pandemic experienced an average drop of 25% in their incomes from May to July. According to the Ministry of Economy, nearly a quarter of the formal workforce – 9.5 million people – have had their work hours reduced or their work contracts suspended since the beginning of quarantine. Data shows that workers lost around R$ 431 (USD $76.13) a month during this period, representing 40% of Brazil’s R$ 1,045 (USD $184.61) monthly minimum wage.

Folha de S.Paulo: Deterioração do trabalho afeta 52 milhões de pessoas
O Globo: Desemprego sobe para 13,8% em julho
O Estado de S.Paulo: Trabalhador perde até 25% da renda na pandemia

3. Only 56% of people registered will receive the administration’s emergency aid

This week, the federal government announced a new timeline for the payment of emergency aid for low income families during the coronavirus pandemic. Families will receive either R$ 300 or R$ 600 for families where the mother is responsible for the family’s income. According to the Ministry of Citizenship, 46 million people who do not currently receive money from the Bolsa Família program have registered to receive the emergency aid. Of those registered, only 27 million – 56.2% – will receive the aid. The federal benefit will only be paid through December.

By the end of the year, the federal government will have spent R$ 9 billion (USD $1.59 billion) in this second round of benefits. Recent data from the administration shows that 67.2 million people received the benefit in the first round of the aid. In the second round, 43.3 million people will benefit. According to Citizenship Minister Onyx Lorenzoni, the extension of the program shows that the administration is committed to helping the most vulnerable.

O Globo: Quase a metade dos cadastrados fica fora do novo auxílio
O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo começa pagar novo lote de ajuda

4. Bolsonaro changes the name of his benefit program and then postpones it

Capital markets and the opposition were suspicious of President Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to replace the benefit program Bolsa Família, resulting in its postponement. The “new brand” of Jair Bolsonaro’s benefit program was named Renda Brazil and is now Renda Cidadã. The government had planned to delay payments of judicial debts to pensioners and use a portion of basic education investments – together amounting to R$ 30 billion (USD $5.3 billion) – to then pay the new benefit of R$ 300 a month to vulnerable families. With the benefit, the government would increase its spending on social programs from R$ 35 billion to R$ 65 billion (USD $11.48 billion) and increase the number of families receiving benefits from 14.2 million to 20.2 million.

The strategy was categorized as defaulting on payments and as a maneuver to avoid the spending ceiling for 2021. Investors did not take the proposal well, which negatively impacted the stock market. The president replied to criticism by saying “If I do nothing, I’m silent. If I do, I’m thinking of the 2022 presidential elections.” It was the Ministry of Economy, however, that vetoed the use of money from judicial debts. The matter is still being discussed in Congress and the Economy team is looking for alternative means to finance the new benefit program.

Folha de S.Paulo: Governo busca alternativa para lançar Renda Cidadã
O Estado de S. Paulo: Renda Cidadã volta à estaca zero
Valor Econômico: Analistas criticam proposta para o Renda Cidadã
Folha de S.Paulo: ‘Se nada faço, sou omisso’, diz Bolsonaro sobre projeto

5. Electoral campaign begins; 42,000 candidates have changed their race or color 

With electoral campaigns beginning on Sunday, 154,00 candidates who ran in 2016 are running again this year. Of those, over 42,000 mayoral or legislative representative candidates have legally changed their color or race. For the first time in history, there will be more candidates who identify themselves as black than as white. Out of the 526,000 politicians currently running, 51% are black and 48% are white. The Superior Electoral Court began to ask candidates about their race in 2014. Since then, there have been three elections and in none of them had a majority of black candidates. People who identify as black represent 56% of the Brazilian population.

The increase in the number of black candidates is not a result of affirmative action. In the next few days, the Federal Supreme Court will decide if there should be a quota on campaign financing and ad times on radio and TV for black candidates. If approved, the quota will be valid from 2022, but an injunction could be used to make it valid immediately. Another change in candidates this year is that 34% are women. In the last three elections, women represented only 32% of candidates. The first round of elections will take place on November 15th. Cities with over 200,000 voters could experience runoff mayoral elections on November 29th.

Folha de S.Paulo: 42 mil candidatos mudam de cor e raça para eleição
G1: Saiba mais sobre as eleições 2020