The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella, said Thursday that he hopes that the most emblematic city in Brazil will not suffer a relapse due to its decision to accelerate the de-escalation of measures to stop the coronovirus pandemic, but that the economic crisis requires that easing.
“I hope that we do not have a relapse and that we do not have to go back. But the economy suffered a huge impact and we are at a gigantic level of unemployment,” Crivella told reporters, when asked if the rapid de-escalation is not premature in a city that continues to record high numbers of deaths and daily infections by coronavirus.
The mayor authorized the reopening of restaurants, bars and gyms starting this Thursday, with restricted hours, remote tables and demanding sanitary precautionary measures.
Rio de Janeiro had already authorized the opening of shopping malls, shops on the street, car dealerships and sports activities on the beaches.
The city is also the only one in all of South America that has already authorized the resumption of its professional soccer championship and is even planning to open the stadiums to the public next July 10.
Rio, however, accumulates 6,618 deaths from coronavirus in the last four months, which, due to its population of 6.32 million inhabitants, places the mortality rate at 104.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, more than three times the Brazilian average (29 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants).
The death toll makes Rio the second city most affected by the pandemic in Brazil, which is the second country in victims (61,000) and infected (almost 1.5 million) by coronavirus in the world and one of the new global epicenters of the illness.
Crivella, who aspires to be re-elected next November, admitted that social distancing measures to stop the pandemic generated a huge fiscal crisis and threatened to collapse the already deficient municipal public accounts.
“The forecast is that the tax collection will be reduced by around 2,000 million reais (377.4 million dollars) due to the pandemic and Rio is already coming from a tragedy that was the account that was left to us for the 2016 Olympic Games. In recent years we had to pay 6,000 million reais (about 1,132 million dollars) of overdue accounts, “he said.
He added, however, that he feels safe with the de-escalation because the curve of deaths and COVID-19 infections in Rio has been parked for several weeks and there is no threat of collapse in the hospital system.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, when I analyze the demand for beds in intensive care units, and the deaths, we see that they rose in March and April, that we had a dark peak in May, and then we fell sharply to today’s levels,” he claimed.
He added that, despite the fact that in May the city registered the curve of its peak of infections, at no time was there a hospital collapse and the intensive care units with respirators were enough to attend to all the patients.
“We got to have 90% of the units occupied but there was never a collapse. That was the great fear at the beginning,” added Crivella, who explained that this was possible thanks to the fact that Rio significantly increased its offer of beds in intensive care units. with the setting up of several field hospitals.