In boost for Bolsonaro, most Brazilians say pandemic is under control, poll shows

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – For the first time, a clear majority of Brazilians think the country’s coronavirus pandemic is no longer “out of control,” a Datafolha poll published on Thursday showed, in what could be a boost for President Jair Bolsonaro, who is almost certain to seek re-election next year.

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Bolsonaro has seen his polls numbers sag due to his handling of the world’s second deadliest outbreak, in which over half a million Brazilians have died from the virus, second only to the United States.

Bolsonaro, who is currently hospitalized and could face emergency surgery due to complications from a 2018 stabbing, has been criticized for minimizing the severity of the disease, being slow to acquire vaccines, shunning lockdowns and pushing unproven miracle cures.

According to the poll, 53% of Brazilians now think the pandemic is “partly under control” while an additional 5% think it is “totally under control.”

Meanwhile, 41% of Brazilians polled think the pandemic is still “out of control,” down from a high of 79% in mid-March.

Black Brazilians are the most likely to say that the pandemic is “out of control,” with 52% choosing that option, compared with 38% of white Brazilians.

Coronavirus deaths in Brazil have been steadily falling since April from a record high of over 4,000 in one day. On Wednesday, Brazil reported 1,556 deaths.

The results of the survey suggest that Brazilians believe the government’s vaccination drive, which was widely criticized for its slow and patchy rollout, is beginning to yield results.

Over 42% of Brazilians have received at least one dose, while just over 15% are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

The Datafolha poll was carried out July 7 and 8 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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