Favela sobre palafitas

Coronavirus reveals chronic problems hidden under the carpet

The Covid-19 epidemic hits Brazil in a special way because, by far, it spells out historical problems that the vast majority of the population was unaware of – or knew and did not care about. I list some more striking examples, but the list is immense:

lack of water

Lack of water- One of the main recommendations of the health authorities is to wash hands, sanitize the environments, general cleaning. But in Brazil, 35 million people (about 16% of the population) do not have access to treated water. In the North region, the landless are 43% of the residents. In the Northeast, there are communities where people need to walk more than 3 hours to get water, and without treatment.

Slum on stilts

Sub-houses – How is it possible to avoid the concentration of people in subnormal agglomerations (technical name to designate slums, tenements and other degrading houses)? IBGE data indicate that, in 2010, there were 11.4 million people living in these conditions, with the average number of inhabitants per room being 2.24. What’s more, the spacing between the residence of one family and that of another is practically none.


Chronic diseases- Among the people most at risk of complications are those with comorbidities, that is, chronic diseases that aggravate the violence of Covid-19. Hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol. In Brazil, 35% of the population has high blood pressure (and half do not know), 12.5 million Brazilians (7%) are diabetic and 40% of adults have high cholesterol (and another 11% have never taken to see if they have or no).

All of these diseases are caused or aggravated by bad habits (poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption and other drugs). In addition to the lack of personal awareness, it also reveals the lack of investment in preventive health: preventing people from getting sick.

Poor business management – The collapse of the economy is imminent, but for a portion of Brazilian businessmen it has already occurred immediately. The reasons? Lack of planning, problems in management, confusion of company finances with personal ones. The crisis of the new coronavirus showed that many entrepreneurs were, literally, selling lunch to buy dinner.

Functional illiteracy – The dissemination of Fake News and the issuance of opinions that directly conflict with scientific evidence show that a large part of Brazilians do not have the ability to develop logical reasoning and have difficulty understanding what they read, see or hear. Unlike what can be imagined, functional illiteracy does not only reach the poorest parts of the population, who have not had access to quality education or meals with sufficient nutritional power to develop the brain regions responsible for cognitive capacity. Ignorance also affects people from more privileged backgrounds, who had the comfort and security to develop their intellectual activity, but wasted this opportunity.

Prison system- When they were confined at home, people had an idea, albeit remote, of what deprivation of liberty means. Imagine the situation the situation of prisoners in the prison system. Evidently, those who made mistakes must pay for them, as required by law. But some kind of rehabilitation is possible in completely degrading prisons. There is no death penalty or life imprisonment in Brazil, one hour the prisoner will be released. How will you get back to the streets?

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