Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro continues to defy warnings from public health experts, by ignoring the recommendations to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Bolsonaro routinely attacks state governors for imposing strict stay-at-home social distancing policies. Bolsonaro, who is facing daily protests against his mismanagement of the pandemic, blasted his former ally, Rio de Janeiro Gov. Wilson Wetzel, for ordering 17 million people to stay at home and closing Rio’s famous beaches. Bolsonaro has threatened to fire his health minister if he dares criticize his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
(“Crisis in the Sahel Becoming France’s Forever War,” New York Times, March 29, 2020)
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads into new states in the American South, the Trump administration is moving full speed ahead constructing its border wall with Mexico. Work crews from across the U.S. have descended on southern Arizona, packing hotels, mobile home parks and local Airbnbs. There’s concern that this influx will increase the likelihood of coronavirus exposure for residents living in small border towns. Some disease specialists warn that workers clustered in tight quarters along the border could spread the virus around the country when they return to their families.
(“Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears,” New York Times, March 31, 2020; “US Waives Laws, Request Input for 91 Miles of New Border Wall Construction,” AZ Republic, March 17, 2020)