Brazil: COVID-19, Illiberal Politics and the Rule of Law

The denialist approach that the Brazilian government adopted to the COVID-19 pandemic makes the country an interesting case study of the consequences of politicised and populist responses to the virus. President Bolsonaro’s ‘underreach’ politics were based on a permanent strategy of exposing the population to the virus in the hope of herd immunity, even after consensus had emerged on the inefficacy of such an approach. This paper reconstructs the central aspects of this response, and assesses the implications for future pandemic preparedness in Brazil.