September 24th, 2021


1. Controversy surrounds Brazil’s UN General Assembly participation

Brazil’s participation in the 76th United Nations General Assembly was seen as shameful, not only by the Brazilian press, but also by international outlets. From the moment the Brazilian entourage arrived in New York through to President Jair Bolsonaro’s speech, the behavior of the country’s representatives was seen as inappropriate.

When the entourage arrived in New York, they were not allowed to dine in closed spaces, as Bolsonaro has not yet been vaccinated and state law demands proof of vaccination to access closed areas. At one point, after facing protests, Brazilian representatives – including Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga – reacted with obscene gestures.

To make matters worse, Bolsonaro’s speech at the UN was filled with misinformation and lies, praising Brazilian environmental policy and the country’s allegedly positive economic performance. The President also defended his promotion of ineffective preventive treatments against COVID-19. The icing on the cake was when two members of the entourage were diagnosed with COVID – one of whom was Queiroga.

CNN Brasil: Bolsonaro minimiza protesto de brasileiros nos EUA
Folha de S. Paulo: Ministro da Saúde mostra o dedo do meio para manifestantes anti-Bolsonaro em NY
G1: Na ONU, Bolsonaro distorce dados sobre ambiente, economia e defende tratamento ineficaz contra Covid
UOL: Veja a íntegra do discurso de Bolsonaro na ONU

2. COVID CPI: Director of health insurance company Prevent Senior confirms falsification and is now under investigation

The Covid CPI revealed this week that health insurance company Prevent Senior conducted a study in which hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were used to treat COVID-19. The company concealed the deaths of patients who were part of the study. In a report sent to the CPI in August, doctors said they were coerced by the company to prescribe the medication.

During a deposition at the COVID CPI, Prevent Senior’s executive director Pedro Benedito Batista Júnior argued that former employees manipulated the data of patients. He said that data analysis undertaken by the National Regulatory Agency for Private Health Insurance and Plans (ANS) revealed there was no wrongdoing by Prevent Senior.

However, Batista Júnior confirmed that the company recommended its doctors change the diagnosis code (ICD) in medical records of patients that arrived at hospitals with COVID-19. CPI rapporteur, Senator Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL) decided to put Batista Júnior under investigation following the deposition.

G1: Diretor confirma que Prevent mudava código de diagnóstico da Covid; senadores falam em crime
Agência Brasil: Denúncias contra Prevent Senior foram manipuladas, diz diretor na CPI
O Globo: Prevent Senior: entenda as acusações contra a empresa envolvendo pesquisa sobre cloroquina
G1: Prevent Senior pressionou médicos depois de denúncias, diz sindicato

3. Tax increase comes into effect as experts say it is unconstitutional

President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree to increase taxes on credit, exchange, and insurance operations (IOF) as well as on titles and real estate by the end of 2021. His goal is to increase taxes to fund new social services – Auxílio Brasil (formerly Bolsa Família).

The government expects that the tax increase will bring in at least R$ 2.14 billion for the government, compensating for the predicted R$ 1.62 billion cost of Auxílio Brasil.

According to tax lawyers, economists, and politicians, the decree is unconstitutional and could end up in court, as tax revenue should not have a pre-determined destination. Bolsonaro’s decision can be challenged by the Federal Supreme Court or by individual lawsuits.

G1: Alta do IOF entra em vigor e encarece o crédito a partir desta segunda; veja como ela pode afetar o seu bolso
Jota: Aumento do IOF é inconstitucional e pode ser judicializado, dizem especialistas
Money Times: Deputados questionam aumento do IOF e até pedem revogação do decreto

4. Study assesses efficacy of half dose of COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot

Studies currently evaluating the need for a COVID-19 booster shot have presented a new possibility: achieving immunization with only half a dose. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health and Projeto Viana Vacinada, in association with Oxford University, is already working on research coordinated by the Federal University of Espírito Santo.

Their aim is to discover whether a half dose can lead to an adequate immune system response against the virus. If proven effective, many countries could double the number of people vaccinated, increasing vaccination rates and the availability of the vaccines. In the city of Viana (ES), the study revealed that 88.3% of research volunteers who had never had contact with the coronavirus developed antibodies from just half a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Still undergoing research, Johnson & Johnson said that a booster shot of its vaccine (a single-dose vaccine) two months after the first dose can lead to a 94% protection rate against moderate and serious cases of the disease.

Folha de S.Paulo: Ministério da Saúde estuda eficácia de meia dose de vacina contra Covid-19 como reforço
UOL: Dose de reforço amplia proteção da vacina Janssen contra covid, diz empresa

5. Moving average of COVID deaths in Brazil increases after 3 months of decreases

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, 592,357 people have died due to the virus in Brazil. In the last 24 hours, 839 people died, according to media reports. The number is cause for concern, as the moving average of daily deaths in the past seven days was 531, a 16% increase in comparison to the previous 14 days. This is the first increase – which is accelerating – since June 21st, 2021.

Ten Brazilian states reported an increase in their moving averages: Espírito Santo (+34%), Minas Gerais (+23%), Rio de Janeiro (+21%), São Paulo (+32%), Acre (+1800%), Pará (+90%), Pernambuco (+1%), Goiás (+21%), Paraná (+42%), and Santa Catarina (+9%).

21,282,612 Brazilians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Over 39% of Brazilians are fully vaccinated. 83,397,254 people received either two doses or a single-dose vaccine.

G1: Brasil ultrapassa 592 mil mortes por Covid; média móvel volta a indicar alta após 3 meses
UOL: Covid: Com 839 novas mortes, Brasil volta a ter alta na média de óbitos
Terra: Brasil tem 39% da população com vacinação completa contra a covid-19