Coronavirus response in Brazil and Mexico

How are Brazil and Mexico responding to coronavirus compared to other countries?

They're abysmal. Look at Brazil and Mexico, and President Trump looks like a model of statesmanship in comparison. In both cases, you have leaders that are saying this isn't a crisis. It shouldn't be taken so seriously. Don't do shutdowns. And in the case of Mexico, they're still pushing austerity. What a disaster. They're really going to suffer. They have nowhere near the kind of resilience or cash on hand that say the Americans, the Europeans, the Japanese do. It's really, really sad.


Will the response to coronavirus lead to more invasive surveillance by governments?

Absolutely. In some cases, that will lead to a bigger power grab of would be authoritarian leaning governments that are actually democracies. Viktor Orbán, for example, in Hungary, a much greater expansion of direct control over his country that Europeans that aren't distracted with coronavirus themselves, aren't going to do anything to punish him in response. That's where we are. But over the course of the next year, in order to get people back to work, you're going to see much more surveillance of individuals, much more data that will be required, available for governments, for corporations. Look at what they're doing, not just in China, but also South Korea and Singapore, where if you were a suspected positive, you're got an app on your phone or a box, a little box that you're carrying, and it says exactly where you've been. Lets you know if you can or can't go into a building. Makes that available to other people.That's probably coming soon to a theater near you. Americans won't be happy about it. They won't be comfortable with it. But getting the economy going again will be seen as the top priority.

Is the threat of coronavirus in China over?

It's getting close to being over at least as long as they don't have further outbreaks from external sources. They are not releasing data on asymptomatic cases. They're tracking it. They're collecting it. But they're not releasing it. Which implies they don't want us to know. It's problematic for scientists internationally who need that information to understand the trajectory of explosion and diminution of cases in China. We'd much rather if they give us that information. It's pretty clear that they are not covering up at this point significant outbreaks. The people themselves would be getting that information out. It would be very hard for China to do it and they'd be taking a lot of risks domestically.

The new cases they're getting are almost all coming from outside the country and they are under government mandated and supervised quarantine. The numbers of people traveling in China right now is de minimis. Given the nature of the authoritarian state and the extraordinary control they have over their borders, I would say the coronavirus is close to being over right now in China. Always capable to see a new outbreak because the science doesn't yet know as much as they would like to, especially about asymptomatic transmission and how long you might be contagious when it's in your body.

Also, potential mutations from coronavirus, which we're just starting to see the beginning of, though most of those have been less lethal, less fatal. But, potentially more transmissible as they've been popping up. That means their economy should be able to really fully restart by the beginning of May, though, of course, restart with a lot less consumer demand, both in the United States and around the world. And in China itself.

So we are seeing the upside of authoritarian regimes that are technologically empowered. I posted on Twitter the other day a short video on from Nanjing, China, about 12 minutes long, that shows just how the Chinese government was able to respond to coronavirus. Across society. Inside taxi cabs. In places of work. In public transport. Around infrastructure. It's humbling. It's obviously chilling in terms of the surveillance society. And it also is something that clearly the Americans, the Europeans could not possibly do in our societies. So, as quickly as we were able to contain coronavirus in China, it is hard to imagine that you could have an outcome like that in any other real major economy in the world.

Brazil's governors take on Bolsonaro: We've previously written about the tensions between local and national governments over coronavirus response, but few places have had it as bad as Brazil. As COVID-19 infections surged in Brazil, the country's governors quickly mobilized – often with scarce resources – to enforce citywide lockdowns. Brazil's gangs have even risen to the occasion, enforcing strict curfews to limit the virus' spread in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has mocked the seriousness of the disease and urged states to loosen quarantines in order to get the economy up and running again. "Put the people to work," he said this week, "Preserve the elderly; preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that." In response, governors around the country – including some of his allies – issued a joint letter to the president, begging him to listen to health experts and help states contain the virus. The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic powerhouse, has even threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro continues to undermine his efforts to combat the virus' spread.

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Governments of the developed world are finally responding with due sense of urgency, individually in 3 different ways.

1st, stand health care systems up so they won't get overwhelmed (late responses). The private & public sector together, building additional ICU beds, supply capacity and production of medical equipment and surge medical personnel in the US, Canada, across Europe & the UK. Unclear if we avoid a Northern Italy scenario. A couple days ago, Dr. Fauci from the NIH said he was hopeful. Epidemiologists and critical care doctors don't feel comfortable. Not in New York, Chicago, LA, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans. In Europe, particularly London, Madrid, Catalonia, Barcelona, might be significantly short.

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The major outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Europe, and the United States have garnered the most Western media attention in recent weeks. Yesterday, we went behind the headlines to see how Mexico and Russia are faring. Today, we'll look at three other potential hotspots where authorities and citizens are now contending with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Start with India. For weeks, coronavirus questions hovered above that other country with a billion-plus people, a famously chaotic democracy where the central government can't simply order a Chinese-scale public lockdown with confidence that it will be respected. It's a country where 90 percent of people work off the books— without a minimum wage, a pension, a strong national healthcare system, or a way to work from home.

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In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After 18 months, Gantz will take over as prime minister, but many doubt that will ever happen.

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