Tiago Tasca By: Tiago Tasca
Researcher in Global Health
View profile and Diary

23 Apr 2020 : When science clashes economy

Since January 2020, I've been living in the South of Brazil. My family lives here and I was born in this wonderful city called Sao Miguel do Oeste, close to Argentina. This region has been increasingly embedded into political conservatism and economy here is above all things (maybe in the same level as the catholic church). My province, Santa Catarina, was among the top provinces that vote for Bolsonaro (I think was around 70%-80% of the total voters), which shows how this region is attached to conservative ideology. Why I am telling this? Well, because this is the main roots of our current COVID-19 responses (or the lack of responses). Thanks to federalism, each one of the 26 Brazilian provinces has some autonomy and, in the present-day pandemic scenario, this relative autonomy is bring forth different responses around the country. Santa Catarina, my province, was one of the first Brazilian regions to approve lockdown but, unsurprisingly, is one of the first to relax lockdown measures. Yesterday, the governor allowed to reopen churchs, gyms, and restaurants because he believes that our economy can't stop. Unfortunately, due to the economy-ultra-conservative thoughts that spilled-over the entire province, citizens became very happy about this measures (ps.: the governor belongs to the former party of Bolsonaro). Nevertheless, I am worry about a recent research published TODAY about the level of vulnerability of my region. The research pointed out that my region is among the top vulnerable of the Brazilian South. I just sent this article (it's a preprint but was released by ScIELO, so I think it's highly credible) to the mayor of my city and I sincerely hope that he reads and make a critical assessment about it. Even if the governor relaxed quarantine measures, the mayor can strict them (happy that these legal mechanisms exist). My hope? I sincerely hope a careful reading from the mayor and a coherent response. The reality? I have no doubt that he will not take into consideration these scientific results to take decisions because he is fully committed to economy and, when economy clashes with science in my country (as we can see day after day), economy prevails. Fingers crossed and I confess that I am a little bit anxious for the mayor's response (sorry for English errors, I am a no-native).   

© 2020, All rights reserved. Views expressed are those of individual contributors. Privacy Policy