This generation of Brazilians will go through a period of fear and deprivation for which experience or training has not prepared them. Millions of families will have to stay in their homes in the coming weeks. The freedom to come and go, to go out to work or study, to meet friends, and to travel will be severely restricted.
A large portion of fellow citizens will bear a double sacrifice. Their limited income depends on the circulation of people and goods and will collapse. Reserves, if they exist, will drain quickly, and traditional government aid programs are beyond such circumstances.
Another group of people falls into the high-risk group for the novel coronavirus epidemic: the elderly and individuals with underlying illnesses will experience prolonged suffering, and if they are infected, an increased risk of death.
Society should now mobilize to protect the most vulnerable from the pathogen's violence and impoverishment.
Changing habits, delegating limited and temporarily greater powers to the authorities, indulging in strenuous and risky journeys as health professionals have done, and reducing productive activity will be beneficial if, at the end of this painful road, many Brazilians have been spared the death and misery.
Looking after those who suffer and helping those will be best for the community. In a country where deep inequities have always coexisted with the indifference - when not complicit - of elites and rulers, such a shock could have lasting consequences.
Hopefully, the collective resources and efforts lead to the emancipation of tens of millions today condemned to ignorance and low income. Hopefully, there will be an increase in intolerance of privileges granted to a few by the State.
Hopefully, politicians do their job with respect for scientific knowledge and responsibility for the well-being of current and future generations of Brazilians.
When the epidemic is over, solidarity will remain and transforms Brazil.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon