Diary on board the Cruise Coronavirus

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Flávio Aguiar*

Report on the daily monitoring of the course of the pandemic

Tuesday, March 31st

Situation in Germany at 12:30 pm (local time): 67.051 cases registered. 650 fatal cases. 13.500 high. Cases considered serious or very serious at the time: 1.979.

In this complicated moment, today, the first subject that comes to my mind is the Brazilian dispute between the March 31st Revolution and the 1st Coup.o Of april. The subject came to me after reading the Order of the Day of the Ministry of Defense and the military ministers repeating the mantra that the coup was not a coup, but a preventive movement in defense of democracy.

It's no use: it was a coup, and I remember very well, the coup started in 1o Of april. We were awake, my brother Rogério and I, at dawn, when the news came over the radio: at two o'clock in the morning of that day, General Olímpio Mourão Filho began the movement of troops under his command, in Juiz de Fora, towards Rio de Janeiro. January. It was the beginning of the coup. Mourão was received by the military in Rio against his will. In fact, he had anticipated the blow, scheduled to strike a few days later. Why would he have rushed? Glory fumes? Distrust towards the chief scammers? Go find out.

A fake news, which persists in becoming fake The story about the “March 31st Revolution” came later, in the face of what the coup leaders (not just the military, remember) saw as an attempt at demoralization by presenting what happened as a fool's day barracks. Along with this came the pompous declaration that "the Revolution was irreversible". Well, the regime installed actually lasted, as it is fashionable to say, 21 years. de cuore, for many, it is not over yet: see the movement of those who want the coup back, around Bolsonaro and surroundings.

Speaking of which, former President Bolsonaro's moves are becoming pathetic. I say ex-president because it is becoming increasingly clear that he reigns (even in the childish sense of the expression, as in “Reinações de Narizinho”), but he no longer rules. Although it can and will still do a lot of damage. So much so that his international demoralization reached limits never before navigated: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook censored (and this time with reason!) His messages. Ridiculousness never seen before, the first time that a head of state is censored on these platforms. Which proves the statement that he is not so “boss” anymore. I even suspect that he no longer heads his family clan, being, on the contrary, headed by him. In fact, he heads only the motorcades of idiots who run after his watchwords, plus perhaps the lower clergy of the Armed Forces and state PMs, in addition to the generals in pajamas clustered around him.

Here, the picture remains bleak. This morning I went to the bank and passed by the supermarket on the corner. Relatively empty streets. Queue at the entrance. Distance of meter and a half to two meters between each one. At the door of the super, a guard controls the entrance, only one enters when another exits. Then the guard diligently takes the cart that the saint left and passes a disinfectant on the bar. Many empty shelves. Especially toilet paper, paper towels, soap, pasta and tomato sauce. Available information says that the consumption of these products has tripled or quadrupled in recent days. Hours are restricted. Those that were open 24 hours a day are now only open from seven in the morning to eight at night. And some, they say, are considering booking special hours for the elderly, wheelchair users, pregnant women or women with babies and other “people with special needs”, as they say today.

From abroad, terrifying or bizarre news. Catastrophe in the United States, thanks to the initial negligence of Donald Trump. In Spain, record of deaths in a single day: 849 yesterday. As for Italy, at least part of the reasons that led to its catastrophe became clearer: when the epidemic broke out in the north of the country, in Lombardy, the capital, Milan, adopted the slogan that Bolsonaro insists on selling today, “Milan cannot to stop". The mayor now admits it was a big mistake. Too late.

In Austria, supermarkets have banned people without masks. I don't know how your supply is. Here in Germany they are completely lacking. My partner Zinka and I are thinking about adapting one of those airplane masks for the eyes. Who knows.

In Hungary, Viktor Orban seized the opportunity to pass a law allowing him to rule by decree. More or less what Hitler did in 1933. If Bolsonaro and his family fall, they could go into exile there. I doubt Trump will get them.

Well, today I started commenting on the “March 31st Revolution”. Tomorrow I start with the “April 1st Coup”. Until.

PS – A bizarre detail. We went through a poor winter by Berlin standards. Temperatures characteristic of a typical winter in the highlands of southern Brazil, and without a single snowflake. Then spring came in cold: in the early morning, down to -8 A.M.oC on the outskirts of Berlin. And yesterday, by surprise, at two in the afternoon, the temperature dropped to zero degrees and… it snowed. Half an hour. Enough to cover our courtyard with its white blanket. Oh time, oh more! For time, “besides this changing every day/another change makes you even more astonished/that it doesn’t change as it used to”.

Wednesday, April XNUMXst

Germany, 11 am: 71.808 cases, 775 dead, 16.100 discharged. Currently, 2.675 serious or very serious cases.

I promised yesterday that today I would talk about Coup de 1o Of april. I intend to, but… life happens to go round and round. I'll start with another end of the ball, recalling the immortal phrase of my colleague from the days of USP, Joe Peralta: “life is a many-edged sword”.

Yesterday my brother Rogério, aged 79, died at the Moinhos de Vento Hospital in Porto Alegre. In addition to the pain of loss, at this moment the feeling is intensified by the sadness of distance. He had been fighting for five years against a cancer that slowly and steadily undermined his resistance, until it brought him to final weakness. Since he was hospitalized at the beginning of March I have only been able, under the circumstances, to speak with him on the phone. Last time, on Friday, I was convinced that the outcome was close at hand. I leave here my tribute to him who always accompanied me with his older brother's wings, opened paths for me and protected me whenever he could. We had convergences (many) and divergences (few): both those and these are part of life. I'm sad, but resigned.

The trespass brought to mind one of the nonsense uttered by a Bolsonarist of the first magnitude, the president of Banco do Brasil, Rubem Novaes, for whom many, “including economists”, he pointed out, make the mistake of considering “that life has a value infinite". As Bolsonaro and Bolsonaristas are always in a fierce campaign against the Portuguese language, it is difficult to understand what he meant exactly, although it is known that he was investing against the “horizontal confinement”. The fact is that he, wanting to deceive the fans, pointed out something true: life, in fact, does not have infinite value, as it is not infinite. On the contrary, it is finite, and for this very reason it must be preserved as much as possible, on an individual, collective and today, it is good to remember, planetary level. This proves that, even wanting to build a stupidity, someone can point out something valuable: the value of life.

The phrases repeated to exhaustion by the project of the Pentecostal High Priest who now occupies the Palácio do Planalto, about the inevitability of the deaths that will occur, remind me of a logic, poorly digested by him, of the lessons I learned when I did my military service, there is more of half a century. In classes on strategy, it was taught that, when attacking an enemy position, infantry should do so with three times the number of defenders. Because, as this logic went, “it is normal that in an attack one third of the attacking force is lost, between dead and wounded”. That's how this group actually thinks. Contrary to the fluffy rhetoric about “job protection”, they think that the economy is a war of all against all and that in it, some of these lives (those of others) will inevitably be lost.

Well, in the real world, that of the WHO, the UN, and anyone who is actually concerned with fighting the epidemic, the war – that of or against the coronavirus – continues. France has now been incorporated into the catastrophic regions, having for this parameter the indicator of the number of deaths surpassing that of China. France: 52.128 cases to date, 3.523 deaths, versus 81.554 cases and 3.312 deaths among Chinese people to date. The other catastrophic cases are Spain, Italy and the United States of Donald Trump: 185.592 cases, 4.056 deaths.

Another catastrophe lurks around us. On Saturday, my companion Zinka went to the open-air fair that takes place on this day, in nollendorfplatz, close to our house. It's a big fair, one of the best known in Berlin, normally it has everything, but now it only sells food products. She bought the usual but spent at least three times as much. In other words, viral inflation is eating away at the edges and the center. It is terrifying, as much as the virus, because, to resume the Camões that I inaugurated yesterday, “times change, desires change”, but prices always go up, and after the rise, they never go down again . On the contrary, they can even go down further.

For his part, the president (elected with almost 98% of the votes, one might suspect) of Turkmenistan, a former Soviet Republic, neighbor of Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea, attacked the problem of the coronavirus in a way that makes Bolsonaro and Trump jealous. Gurbanguly Berdimmuhamedow (the president), who also has athletic pretensions, like Bolsonaro, simply prohibited the use of the word “coronavirus” and, according to other reports, is ordering the arrest of anyone who talks about the virus or wears a mask on the street. It's a radical vaccine: if you don't talk about the problem, it doesn't exist. Post-modernly, it is sent to the non-place.

Speaking of Bolsonaro, I finally come to the 1st Coupo Of april. I remembered an old chronicle by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, in which the poet said that for years he had been waiting for the “politician of the March 31st Revolution”, and he had come: Paulo Maluf. It is good to clarify that when the poet wrote this, anyone who wrote in a newspaper “Golpe”, even if it was “from March 31st”, or simply “from 64”, was summarily censored, in a solution à la Turkmenistan.

Well, now we can (at least still) talk about 1-hit o de Abril, and the most finished politician of this coup is him, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, produced 54 years (in 2018) after the inauguration of the “Irreversible Regime”. Why? Why the Coup of 1o de Abril inaugurated the largest factory of what is now called “fake news”. Starting by presenting itself as the “Revolution of March 31st”, distorting not only the date, but a word of noble history, usurping it. Then he ushered us into a corridor where words were continually butchered or simply banned. Strange expressions were created, such as “Brazilian miracle”, for example. Others were banned. I remember writing a review on the book The Communist-Christian Republic of the Guarani, by the Swiss Jesuit Clovis Lugon, in the newspaper Movement. The censor simply deleted the word “Communist” from the title of the book. And so on.

Jair Messias, willingly or unintentionally, became the king of fake news. He even recently distorted statements by the WHO director to justify his proposal for “vertical confinement”. It is indeed the finished disciple of the 1st Coup's ruses.o Of april. Both, brothers, Jair Messias and the Coup of 64, are living proof that, in fact, it is possible to deceive many all the time, but it is impossible to deceive everyone all the time. Corona may have sounded not just the pans, but the Waterloo gong for Jair's block, perhaps even for Trump.

Thursday, April 02

Germany, 15:30 pm – 79.465 cases. 959 fatal. 19.175 high. Currently 3.408 serious or very serious cases.

Sorry for the insistence on the numbers, but the situation, in addition to being pathetic, is very serious. United States versus China, respectively: cases: 215.357 x 81.589; killed: 5.113 x 3.318; high: 8.878 x 76.408. Pandemonium is in the USA. In Spain, 110.238 cases, 10.003 deaths, 26.743 discharges, 6092 severe cases. Explosion.

UK, 33.718 cases, 2.921 deaths, 135 discharges, 163 severe or very severe cases currently.

Details. Last year, a survey was conducted on which countries would be best equipped to face a pandemic. First, United States. Second, UK. South Korea appears in ninth place. China didn't even show up. What happened? My answer: Donald Trump, Brexit and Boris Johnson.

Trump's campaign against "Medicare universal” of Obama, similar to the Brazilian SUS, although less comprehensive. The underestimation of the epidemic, like Bolso and his fanatics. Johnson's belated and recalcitrant reaction in London. A disaster, which Bolsonaro wants to imitate.

From Brazil, I read that the traditional media does not want to recognize the vital role of the SUS in containing the pandemic. Loyalty to private companies? Prejudice against what is public? Need to inflate the increasingly dull little ball of Paulo Guedes, the incompetent and abulistic? Go find out. It's probably all together and more.

Daily life: today is my day to be locked in the house. Scrub with chlorine solution everything that arrives from the outside. Food, in a bath of sodium hypochlorite that I brought from Brazil, a country that is advanced in terms of preventing contagious diseases. Unlike Europe, where until today many people thought that contagious disease was a Third World thing. They forgot that Hegel died of cholera in Berlin.

On the streets, the number of people wearing masks grows. I'll repair one for myself, since they're out of stock, Durango Kid, Black Knight, stuff. I'll put on my poncho, my big Mexican hat, I'll go out into the street, and I want to see who's tasca.

Cinema in quarantine: yesterday we watched The Man Who Knew Too Much”, directed by Hitchcock, but in the 1934 English version, in black and white, which I didn't even know existed. Peter Lorre gives a show of ball in the performance of the soulless villain who kidnaps little children. Today we're reviewing the 1956 Hollywood version with James Stewart and Doris Day, one of my favorites, for comparison.

The 1934 version, which takes place in Switzerland and London (the 56 version swaps Switzerland for Morocco), is rougher, but for that very reason it has its charm. There's more shooting, running across rooftops, remembering Vertigo, with the same James Stewart and Kim Novak. Still other favorites of mine are Indiscreet Window (1954) and International Intrigue, 1959. In addition to Coat Thief (1955), in which I fell in love with Grace Kelly, betraying my love for Brazilian Eliana. Unfortunately, she preferred that bland Prince Rainier of Monaco, where the film was shot. 

We continued with full sun and bitter cold for the season: 16 pm, 9 degrees.

Tomorrow there's more. Until.

Friday, April 03th

Germany, 11 am: 84.818 cases; dead: 1.107; highs: 22.440; serious or very serious cases at the moment: 3.956.

One of the most current political theories at the time says that the art of governing consists in sowing chaos and then administering it. Jair Messias is refining the theory. Because for him to govern is to sow chaos not to administer it and still blame others for it. In fact, he's cornered. On the one hand, the soldiers closest to active duty, who squeeze their space for manoeuvre. On the other hand, the crazy military, who are more of a hindrance than a help, like General Chilique, who went to a meeting at the Palace “by mistake”, when he should have remained isolated. On the third side, the simply crazy, with one cruel nonsense after another, like the president of Banco do Brasil, who returned to the charge, along with the nefarious Malafaia, the mala-fala, attacking the quarantine. Still ahead, the son Carluxo, who now seems to digitize his father and claims that Brazil is moving quickly towards socialism (May God hear him!).

It is evident that Jair Messias feels threatened, like Macbeth who, after assuming the kingdom, starts to have delusions with the ghosts he created. In this context of pandelirium, the only alternative is to really sow chaos, to uncap Pandora's box of disturbances in the war of all against all that leads him to put the Army in the streets (if it will obey him), the PMs rebelled against their state governors, the militias they had left, along with the radioactive bombs, like Olavo de Carvalho, Ernesto Araújo, etc.

It remains to be seen what will happen to this dejected cake that is the central nucleus of the government today, but which could still explode. To complete the misfortune, there is the unpleasant (for him) siege of those who still preserve a front of competence in the pandemonium in which the country can transform, some operators in the area of ​​health, the economy (not Guedes, who seems more lost than ever). what a dog in procession), from states and city halls that are in fact assuming attitudes that are coherent and consistent with the gravity of the moment.

Meanwhile, in the world around, the macabre dance of numbers continues. More than a million infected, almost 54 thousand dead. The United States leads spectacularly in contaminations: 245.380. Spain and Italy compete for second place. Today, they are seen as examples of countries whose authorities did not initially take the risks of the pandemic seriously.

The headlines mirror the other pandemic, that of “reactive despair”. To the apparent general surprise, Russia sends a rescue plane to the United States. Trump sends a squadron of planes to China to look for material to combat the virus. In Miami, a Chinese plane, with sanitary material contracted by the Bahian government, is detained. It is suspected that the US government has promised to pay more for the material than the one from Bahia, and that the Chinese company is trying not to deliver the products to its original customer. Was the US government resorting to piracy?

The governments of Canada and France suspect so, as they denounced the retention, in the United States, of Chinese orders detained from their countries… Germany complains that the US “seized” (expropriated?) 400 thousand masks that would come from China… Will it be a new chapter in Trump's trade war against the world? Germany denounces: there were 400 thousand clinical masks, already paid for. The United States offered triple to Chinese producers. And these announced that they will return the money paid to the Germans. In other words, it's really piracy! Somali pirates are close to these guys (and I don't just mean Chinese businessmen…).

At the same time, Western powers are blocking a Russian proposal at the UN Security Council to lift all blockades not approved by the international body. And Donald Trump reinforces the naval squadron in the Caribbean to surround Venezuela, while maintaining the forever and today most criminal blockade against that country and Cuba, which expands its assistance network around the world.

The German government announces that it is considering extending the closure of its borders. An agricultural drama: it is harvest time, including asparagus, whose production in Germany is called “white gold”. If it is not harvested now, it is lost. It turns out that the harvest is usually done by temporary workers who come from Poland. In these times of Corona, no way. The government launches a call for students – who are without classes – or other people without work at the moment, to volunteer to help with the harvest. Will it succeed? The next few days will tell.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announces that she will lift her quarantine, which began on March 22. At the same time, the government announces the tightening of restrictive measures to social contact, which should remain in effect at least until the 20th of this month, when there will be a reassessment of their effectiveness. From now on, the police would be authorized to question anyone in the streets, parks and squares about what they were doing there. If you claim purchases, you will need to describe your itinerary or, if you are returning, present a note of purchases. On benches in squares and parks, you will be allowed to sit for half an hour, no more than that. It is reiterated that it is forbidden for more than two people to gather in a public space, closed or not, and the imposition of fines on violators will intensify.

Meanwhile, the city of Berlin has requested two hotels to transform them into shelters for women victims of domestic violence, which has been intensifying in these days of confinement. And the mayor's office in the nearby city of Potsdam announced a program to provide meals to poor families whose children ate them at school. The coió (êta, good word!) who directs the Banco do Brasil declared that a mere epidemic cannot allow it to threaten the pillars of our society, transforming the Brazilian State into a Welfare State… Could he be thinking about Carluxo's socialism? ? Pillars must be on his mind, and I won't say what, out of respect for propriety.

As said by Dr. Dráuzio Varela, forget the previous normal life for a long time. This is the new “normality”, which will last. Forget, instead, the madness of despair that emanates from the Palácio do Planalto, an example today sung around the world of what one should not do. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, April 04

2 hours. Germany, 12 hours – cases: 91.959; deaths: 1277; highs: 24.575. At the moment, 3936 serious or very serious cases.

From yesterday to today, what has been called “The War of the Masks” has gained weight in the media. After accusations that the US government has been pirating orders for sanitary material that should be sent to other countries (denunciations initially made by the governments of Bahia, France and Canada), other cases surfaced in different publications. By the way: US authorities deny the practice, but whistleblowers insist on denouncing it.

O jornal The Express denounces that the practice has become current within Europe itself. The French government confiscated masks that were to be sent to Spain and Italy. Ditto, the Czech Republic entrusted masks from China that would go to Italy. After denying the allegation, the Czech government acknowledged the “mistake”, but did not clarify what was done with the masks. Chinese officials have said they will send a new departure to Italy. Germany denounces that Thailand withheld 200 Chinese masks that were to be sent to the Berlin police. 

The denunciations detail one of the procedures: the US agents would approach those responsible for loading on the runways of Chinese airports, offering 3 to 4 times the usual price for the equipment, in cash. Irresistible.

Denunciations of this type have been pointing to a “melting down” of structures that were considered solid. For example: the European Union. In addition to competition tensions, the current closure of borders between several of the member countries is exposing the new situation of fragility of the so-called Schengen Agreement (reference to the castle in Luxembourg where it was signed), which guarantees the free movement of people between the signatories , which are more than those belonging to the EU The latter's relations with the United States were already strained because of the trade and fiscal wars between the latter and the former. China has been scoring diplomatic points in Europe, despite existing suspicions. Ditto for Russia. Despite the campaign against it by the United States, European countries have been accepting Cuba's help more and more. And the US attitude of intensifying the blockade against Cuba and Venezuela during this pandemic period causes rejection.

Apart from the “War of the Masks”, today’s scandal is due to two French doctors who suggested, on a TV program, that if there are tests for a vaccine against the coronavirus, they should start with African countries. The statement raised suspicions of prejudice and racism. Then there were attempts to explain that it was a misunderstanding, that the doctors were highlighting Africa because this continent is inhabited by people who have little health protection, and thus the effectiveness of vaccines would be better and more quickly determined. But the explanations sounded like that amendment which is worse than the sonnet. They didn't stick.

Brazil: complaints surfaced that mayors of 14 cities in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, pressured by local businessmen, had authorized the unrestricted opening of local businesses. They turned back, after Governor Eduardo Leite (PSDB) renewed the decree that prohibits the opening of commercial establishments and others not considered essential activities throughout the state, and of being threatened with prosecution by the Public Ministry. The case is particularly serious because Rio Grande do Sul is the Brazilian state with the longest-lived population in the country. It illustrates well the behavior of the scum of the Brazilian business community, stirred up by the erratic, wrong and irresponsible behavior of the Satrap who now occupies the Planalto Palace.

Around here, I'm on the third day in a row without leaving home. Despite the low temperature – nine degrees at 12:30 pm – there is exquisite sunshine and an inviting blue sky outside. I can always go to the counter, where our plants are budding and blooming with spring. This is the point: I understand why the German government ordered to tighten the control on confinement and restrictions on social contact. Even though this has been the warmest winter I've experienced since moving here, starting in 2007, we've had objectively low temperatures for five months now, oscillating, most of the time, between zero, close to zero and a few days a little below , and plus ten degrees or just above. And next week, in the days leading up to the Easter holidays, maximum temperatures should rise to 20 degrees. It will make millions of people want to go out on the street, including me.

At the moment, my companion Zinka went to the fair (despite the abusive prices) looking for potatoes, bread and whatever else she could find at affordable costs. It is a curious situation, reminiscent of primitive hunters. We know where the “hunt” can be. And also the risks of the locations. Supermarkets are more risky than street markets, closed space x open space. At the same time, the supermarket is the place where something “huntable” is more easily found, in a better cost-benefit ratio. In the “open meadow” of the street market, the risk of contamination is lower, but the approachable “hunting” is less abundant, and the risk of serious injuries to the stock exchange or resource portfolio has been greater. 

This sensation of “primitive hunts” is completed by the realization that people go out to “hunt what they find”. I also feel returned to a survival marked by “gathering”, although it pays: we go out and take what our “urban nature” offers… And I also feel that way: as a great friend of mine, Professor Antonio Dimas, says , from USP, “the problem with nature is that it is very natural”… that is, it offers you what it has, from mosquitoes and other insects to fruits and water, not what you eventually want…

The feeling of confinement, on the other hand, presents itself as an onion. I feel confined to Germany: airports and flights, no way. To Berlin: trains, bus stations, much less. To my neighborhood: public transport, even less. To my house: the street is a risky situation…

I'll complete these time travel sensations with a parable about something that actually happened:

In 2007 we went – ​​me and the site team Major Card – cover the World Social Forum in Kenya, East Africa. After the event, we went on a tour of “Masai Country”. Wonder. Plateau, 2.500 meters high. Even though it was high above the Equator, it was bitterly cold at night. On a certain return, we went to a Masai village. While some were amused by watching dances and other walks, those offered by tourists, I was talking to a villager, relatively young, who I considered a local philosopher. He told me that he belonged to the last generation in his village that had to fulfill the ancient ritual of maturity: going out to hunt a lion (today something very forbidden, although it happens, like the commercial escapades in the villages of Brazil). He prided himself on being the first of his group to throw a spear at the lion. Then he asked me if there was something similar in my country.

I got stuck. But I unpacked. I explained that I had always lived in “cities” (which he had already heard about), and that, when I was very young, a “ritual of maturity” in my hometown of Porto Alegre was to get on and off a tram by walking. I explained what a “tram” was (already an inexplicable entity for the new Brazilian generations), the risks of doing it on an “avenue”, the smaller risk of doing it through the back door and the greater risk from the front door, etc. He mulled it over for a bit and said to me: "yes, this could be as dangerous as hunting a lion".

Time travel, forwards and backwards. I sent him a postcard from the São Paulo jungle, where I was living at the time, even though I was already leaving to move to Berlin. As they say in gauchês, “God willing tomorrow we will be here again”.

Sunday, April 05

Germany, 13:30 pm: 96.108 cases, 1.446 deaths, 26.400 discharges. Serious or very serious cases at the moment: 3.936.

It is not only in Brazil that religious fundamentalism can contribute to hindering the fight against the coronavirus. The case in question came from Israel. Most inhabitants of the community of Bnei-Brak, north of Tel Aviv, practice Haredi Judaism, considered ultra-Orthodox. Many of its members live together in cramped rooms, with many children, which makes it difficult to remain in isolation. Furthermore, they refuse to use today's advanced means of communication, such as smartphones, computers and similar gadgets. They also tend not to follow the recommendations of the “secular” government of Israel, obeying only the Haredi rabbis. Result: Bnei-Brak became, after Jerusalem, the biggest focus of infected and transmitters in the country. Only a few days ago, the chief rabbi of the community decided to issue an order for his followers to adhere to isolation. As a result of this, Haredi members began to travel around the city with sound cars informing the rabbi's determination.

In Italy, far-right Lega leader Matteo Salvini is pushing for churches to open at Easter, claiming that science is not enough to fight the virus, "the good God will do too". In Brazil we have the proposal of fasting, called by Bolsonaro and his gang of pastors, to make “hell explode”. Well, hell has already exploded, in Brazil and in the world. And I confess that I have never seen such an attempt made against the second commandment: “You shall not take the name of God in vain”. What impiety!

I'm not religious, I proclaim myself a “non-practicing atheist”, but I contemplate the universe, from the micro-I don't-know-what else to the macro-galaxies, and I revere the Mystery of it all. I never forget (and practice) the gaucho recommendation of my Pampean grandmother, who grew up in Rivera-Santana-do-Livramento, those cities united by a square where the border line between Brazil and Uruguay passes: “the best mate is drunk at dawn, looking at the stars, solito y Dios”. And from time to time, I pray, because an atheist prays twice: it is equivalent to overtime. This is why the impudence of these people, who want to affiliate God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Tupã, Pachamama, Iemanjá, or whatever it is to their political party, scandalizes and disgusts me. Go retro…

Well, today the thing here is chipping away. I look out the window and see the beautiful inviting sun combined with a tempting blue sky… 15 degrees… the temperature can reach 17-18 this afternoon… It's the first real day of spring. Tomorrow should go to 20! It takes a lot of discipline to maintain isolation in this circumstance. There is always the balcony, where the sun will hit in the afternoon. In the building next door, the young neighbor is sunbathing in a bikini! It's too much!

Fortunately, the news contains me. Well, I read that the “War of the Masks” runs rampant. Trump announces that, deep down, taking possession of other people's masks is not piracy! And the Washington government blocks delivery of anti-virus aid donated to Cuba. He also announces that he is planning to leave the Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992, which hinders the arms race and also the accidents that would create potential war situations around key locations of the world powers. And the siege of Venezuela is intensifying.

Decidedly, there is a common trait that unites Trump and his court to Bolsonaro and his troupe: it is perversity. They are perverse people, who lie, know they lie and still lie that they don't lie. And he takes pleasure in doing evil, saying that he is doing good. I remember the movie touch of evil (the mark of evil), by Orson Welles, with Welles himself as the protagonist, putting on a show alongside Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Akim Tamiroff and even with Marlene Dietrich making a point of closing the trade (the expression is pertinent). In the confines of the border between the USA and Mexico, a North American police chief takes pleasure precisely in “doing good” by doing evil, until he lets himself be completely absorbed by it. If he's already seen it, review it, if he hasn't seen it, see it right away. It is accessible on the internet, but you have to pay.

I finish today's comment with a note of hope: the manifesto in favor of the SUS, signed by nine former Brazilian Ministers of Health, belonging to four different parties. It cost.

Monday, April 06th

Germany: 100.123 cases (69.839 at the moment, with 3.936 considered serious or very serious), 1.584 dead, 28.700 discharged. More than 50 infected are aged between 15 and 59 years. The average of those infected in Germany is 49 years old, while in Italy it is 62 years old.

It's time to close this second part of the Diary-Coronavirus.

In the 1958 World Cup, for the first time, gaucho broadcasters made direct transmissions, from Sweden. One of the announcers (at the time we used to say “speaker”, as well as “corner”, “off-side”, “center-half”, “center-forward”, “golo” and there were even those who said, in front of a goal, that "the ball went to kiss the bride's veil"), Mendes Ribeiro, from Rádio Guaíba, coined a phrase that became famous. Brazil scored a goal annulled by the referee, according to him, unfairly. Soon after, Brazil scored again, with the goal, this time, validated by the referee. And Mendes Ribeiro chimed in: “God doesn't play, but He supervises”.

I was reminded of this phrase when I came across the news that Boris Johnson, the little British Trump, is hospitalized due to the coronavirus, after having initially minimized the problem, like the American and Brazilian presidents. As for the Brazilian, he should be hospitalized, I just don't know if at the Hospital das Clínicas or at Juqueri.

Perhaps encouraging news: disease progression slows down, albeit slightly, in France, Spain, Italy and Austria. However, it accelerates in the United States, and in Brazil, the municipalities affected exceed 400. Weintraub continues his war against relations between Brazil and China and is transported from the Chinese Embassy.

The “War of the Masks” has gained a new chapter. The Berlin senator, Andreas Geisel, who had denounced that the United States had appropriated thousands of masks ordered from the Chinese firm 3M, in Bangkok, Thailand, backtracked. He said he wasn't even sure the order had been placed with 3M. However, the fact remains that the masks left China and disappeared in Bangkok. Mystery.

The Bronx Zoo, in New York, announced that the tiger Nadia has the coronavirus, probably infected by her keeper. Three other tigers and three lions have a “dry cough”. A cat with coronavirus also appeared in Hong Kong, infected by its owner. Decidedly, humans are a danger.

I look out the window: outside, the same seductive sun of the last few days continues to shine. It's a temptation, but I resist, and enter my fourth or fifth consecutive day indoors. I've already lost count. I will leave tomorrow.

I've been reading a lot of comments about what the world will be like in "day after”. I read everything, from predictions that speak of apocalyptic scenarios, conflicts, confrontations, social upheavals, fevers and other pandemics, with the end of the European Union and the supremacy of China, to others that outline a promising future, with more and more people and leaders coming to the conclusion that neoliberalism is a leaky boat, going back to believing in the fundamental role of the State in society (curious, I still remember the time when we, on the left, wanted the destruction of the State in the Earthly Paradise that would be installed after the inevitable dictatorship of the proletariat). 

I confess that I remain skeptical about these predictions. I think that neoliberals will remain neoliberals, if only for a long time, socialdemocrats will remain socialdemocrats, socialists, socialists, and the indifferent, indifferent. Habits will change, for sure. I don't have statistics or a crystal ball, but, for example, I started paying for everything with a card, so as not to touch cash. As I wrote before, I have been using my hypochlorite reserve, which I bring from Brazil whenever I can, to disinfect fruits and vegetables, and every package that comes into the house is rubbed with a solution based on the German equivalent of our Cândida, former Qboa from my childhood, who here is called DanClorix. It must come from the famous Gallic village. I once tried to buy hypochlorite here: it would cost a fortune, as it would have to be imported. And delivery would take about a month.

To complete this picture of changes, we run the risk of rehabilitating Pontius Pilate.

A friend of mine, in São Paulo, wrote me that one of these days she met a neighbor in the elevator of the building who started talking badly about Dória and praising Bolsonaro, saying that yes, everything is nothing more than a “little flu”, etc. Terrified, she got off the elevator as soon as she could without arguing with him. Friends of hers criticized her for this. I confess that I praised her behavior. This is self-defense. Arguing with a Bolsonarist on the street is already a risk. Imagine inside a closed elevator, risking imperceptible spitting from the Corona-Virus and contagious stupidity.

Well, see you later. Take care.

* Flavio Aguiar is a writer, journalist and retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP.

The first part of this diary on the website Morning.

See this link for all articles


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