Work has begun to convert Sao Paulo’s Pacaembu Stadium, which wasn’t used during the World Cup. It can seat 45,000 and is expected to provide more than 200 beds. The stadium, where Pelé played for Santos, is near several hospitals in the country’s largest city and is expected to treat less-serious cases.
Brasilia’s Mané Garrincha Stadium, controversial for its more than $700 million renovation, rarely has been used since the World Cup, and its administrator recently signed an agreement to convert it into a temporary health center.
Brazil’s covid-19 cases approached 4,000 last week, the Associated Press reported Sunday, with more than 100 deaths. Although President Jair Bolsonaro has sought to downplay the severity of the illness, Brazilians were demanding tough measures: A Datafolha poll this month found that 73 percent of those surveyed supported total social distancing. Bolsonaro told reporters last week that he believes Brazilians are protected by natural immunity.
“The Brazilian needs to be studied. He doesn’t catch anything. You see a guy jumping into sewage, diving in, right? Nothing happens to him,” he said. “I think a lot of people were already infected in Brazil, weeks or months ago, and they already have the antibodies that help it not proliferate. I’m hopeful that’s really a reality.”
Brazil’s first two qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup were postponed, and domestic competitions were suspended.