Bolsonaro's Rhetoric against Isolation May Have Killed His Voters More, Says Study

Isolation fell and there were more deaths proportionally in cities that had more voters of the president

São Paulo

President Jair Bolsonaro's denialist rhetoric in the coronavirus epidemic may have contributed to killing mainly his voters.

On virtually every occasion when the president minimized the pandemic, Brazil's rate of social isolation declined. More people have died proportionally in the municipalities that voted most for Bolsonaro in 2018.

The conclusion comes from the study "Ideology, isolation and death: an analysis of the effects of Bolsonarism in the Covid-19 pandemic", by four researchers from the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), the Getúlio Vargas Foundation and the University of São Paulo.

Manaus fills mass graves as Covid-19 hits the Amazon (Xinhua/Sandro Pereira)

The paper maintains that the president's vote in the first round, by municipality, has a negative correlation with the isolation rate; and a positive correlation with deaths from Covid-19.

In short, where Bolsonaro had the most votes, the isolation has been less - and the number of deaths, greater.

"It is as if, with his speech, Bolsonaro had taken his voters to the slaughterhouse," said one of the authors of the work, Ivan Filipe Fernandes, doctor of Political Science at USP and professor at UFABC.

The survey took into account the occasions when Bolsonaro made statements against the Covid-19 threat (such as when he spoke of "little flu") and its effects on social isolation, monitored from the georeferencing data from cell phones captured in all states by the company Inloco.

Each time Bolsonaro minimized the pandemic, social isolation declined in all states—without exception.

Researchers then crossed these results with the vote of the president in the first round of 2018 and with the number of deaths accumulated by municipality, revealing that the deaths were higher where the president won more votes.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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