Brazil’s current president Jair Bolsonaro, who has been frequently compared to US President Trump, was reported by Brazilian G1 Globo News by way of business insider to have been censoring and even going so far as to delete COVID-19 death counts from official statistics.
Brazil deleted months of data from its official COVID-19 tracker, prompting president Jair Bolsonaro to be accused of censorship.
On Friday, the health ministry’s “Coronavirus Panel” was taken offline, according to Brazil’s G1 Globo. By Saturday, it was back online, but with a fraction of the data.
The previous version of the website showed the cumulative national tally of deaths and infections, and granular data for each of Brazil’s 27 states and municipalities.
The new version showed only new deaths and cases recorded over the last 24 hours at state level, with no national tally.
Bolsonaro wrote on his personal Facebook page that the old website used data that was “not representative” and that the new version will “allow for more accurate data on the situation.”
“The disclosure of 24-hour data lets you monitor the reality of the country right now, and define appropriate strategies to help the population,” he said.
Several high-profile figures accused Bolsonaro of twisting the narrative — something he has done before.
“The manipulation of statistics is a maneuver of totalitarian regimes,” Gilmar Mendez, a justice at Brazil’s supreme court, wrote on Twitter. “The trick will not exempt responsibility for the eventual genocide.”
Luiz Henrique Mandetta, the minister for health fired by Bolsonaro in April, said on Saturday: “From the point of view of health it is very bad. It is a tragedy what we are seeing, the dismantling of information.”
The update to the website came at the end of what was Brazil’s worst week so far.
The country logged a record 1,262 deaths on Tuesday, only to be bested a day later when 1,349 new fatalities were reported.
Regardless, the country has moved ahead with reopening some services. (source)