Sumary of Brazilian mayors torn between Carnival and pandemic safety:
- 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.
- Brazil’s Tourism Minister Gilson Machado Neto declined to take sides on Thursday, saying that legally, the decision lies with states and municipalities.
- The mixed message brought criticism from state officials, who called for mayors not to shirk responsibilities.