“It’s now more the physical solitary life but very digitally crowded. I miss human touch”
Today’s postcard, recorded on 15 July, is from Higor Boconcelo who lives in São Paulo, Brazil. Higor is a user experience designer for a large tech company. You can find him on LinkedIn, Medium and Instagram.
Unlike daily-wage workers in Brazil, he’s been able to work from home during lockdown. In this postcard, Higor describes life in solitude during the pandemic that has also led to burst of creativity.
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Brazil has great territorial, socioeconomic and ethnic diversity however, its previous experience of dealing with HIV and Zika meant it had a head start when it came to COVID-19.
The virus first appeared in February as wealthier people returned from Europe. A combination of the divisive president Jair Bolsonaro, who downplayed the impending crisis, and a rapid succession of health ministers meant the chaotic administration squandered its epidemiological advantage.
Bolsonaro, fearing loss of popularity that focused on the economy, wanted to keep the country open but regional governors sought lockdown by mid March.
Coronavirus has torn through the country and it is second to the US as the worst affected in the world. As of 17 July 2020 there have been 2,014,738 confirmed cases and 76,822 deaths. Gross under testing of the population means that numbers of cases and deaths are estimated to be six times higher.
The mega city of São Paulo has been particularly hit by Coronavirus with its many football stadiums converted to emergency hospitals. In the wider state, only five areas have yet to be touched by the virus.
For comparison, Brazil has a rate of about 36.7 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants. Neighbouring Argentina – from which Sarah Pabst spoke to Postcards in episode 17 – registers 4.6 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants.