Rio De Janeiro cancels the Carnival for the first time in a century.
Image Credit: Riotur
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, delayed its annual Carnival parade for the first time in a century, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil is the second worst hit country, in terms of the number of deaths, and third worst hit, in terms of the number of cases.
Rio has still not announced whether Carnival street parties will also be delayed. Brazil detected the first case of coronavirus, on 26th February, one day after the Carnival ended. As the number of cases and deaths mounted, the Rio’s League of Samba Schools halted their preparations for the 2021 parade.
Luiz Antonio Simas, a historian that specializes in the Brazilian Carnival said ‘Carnival is a party upon which many humble workers depend. The samba schools are community institutions, and the parades are just one detail of all that. An entire cultural and productive chain was disrupted by COVID.’
The last time Rio’s Carnival was suspended was in 1912, after Brazil’s Foreign Minister died. The Carnival parties were delayed by 2 months. The Carnival was not stopped during world war 2, and even during the military dictatorship that lasted until 1985, the Carnival occurred every year.
Two months ago WHO announced that the number of cases in Brazil seem to have stabilized, and recently it was reported that a city in the State of Amazonas, Manaus, the number of new cases decreases drastically suggesting herd immunity. Read more about these stories here:
Regardless of this, authorities are still concerned about an uptick in the number of cases, in light of the second wave in Europe. Leisa President Jorge Castanheira said ‘It’s increasingly difficult to have carnival without a vaccine. There is no way to have carnival without safety.’
To make matters worse, public spaces such as beaches have been crowded, ignoring social distancing rules. The number of cases in Brazil since the pandemic began is 4,659,909, and the number of deaths is 139,883.