Brazilians think COVID-19 outbreak out of control, most fear infection: poll

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BRASILIA (Reuters) – Almost eight out of 10 Brazilians think the COVID-19 pandemic is out of control in their country and more than half are “very afraid” they will get infected with coronavirus, a new Datafolha poll said on Friday.

Those concerns come as President Jair Bolsonaro swaps the health minister for a third time and Brazil becomes the epicenter of the pandemic with more death each day than any country.

Datafolha said 79% of those surveyed said the situation is out of control, up from 62% in the last poll in January.

Brazil had its second deadliest day on Thursday, with 2,724 lives lost to COVID-19, just two days after a record 2,841 coronavirus deaths. On Wednesday, the health ministry reported a record 90,303 new cases of infection, more than the United States, which has had the most cases to date.

Datafolha said 55% of those surveyed are very frightened they will get the virus, up from 44% in January. Even young Brazilians and also richer ones are more afraid of being infected, the poll showed.

Datafolha polled 1,023 people by telephone March 15-16 and the poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Support for Bolsonaro has eroded as Brazil faces a brutal second wave of coronavirus cases driven by a new more contagious local variant that has overwhelmed the intensive care words of hospitals in the main cities.

A Datafolha poll published earlier this week showed that 54% of Brazilians regard Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis as bad or very bad, up from 48% in January.

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