Brazilian mayors torn between Carnival and pandemic safety

www.startribune.com
3 min read
fairly difficult
Mayors across Brazil are divided on whether to maintain end of year festivities and February's Carnival, traditionally celebrated lavishly in all four corners of the vast nation, with some fearing that now-low COVID-19 infection rates could roar back.
RIO DE JANEIRO —

Rio de Janeiro is moving forward with both New Year's Eve and its legendary Carnival, each likely to attract millions of revelers. But others have opted for a more conservative approach: Several municipalities in Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and other states cancelled Carnival altogether, including the street parties known as "blocos".

The number of daily deaths and new infections from the virus are currently low and vaccination coverage is higher than in many countries — including the U.S. — but officials fear bringing large crowds together could reignite a disease that has already killed more than 600,000 in Brazil alone.

Officials in favor of maintaining events stress the importance of carnival for local economies that deeply suffered during the pandemic.

In Rio de Janeiro, Mayor Eduardo Pães has promised the largest-ever New Year's Eve celebration, with multiple fireworks shows and artists performing on a dozen stages across the "marvellous city."

Pre-sales for Carnival, held a few months later, are also open.…
DIANE JEANTET, Associated Press
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