The coronavirus has come roaring back into Brazil, shattering illusions it wouldn’t
By Terrence McCoy and Heloísa Traiano
RIO DE JANEIRO — For weeks, it has seemed to Carla Santos de Lima that people here have been in the thrall of a collective delusion that the pandemic was on the way out.
The beaches, bars and restaurants had filled. The message: Rio de Janeiro was back.
The pleasant fiction held for weeks — even as people explained away surging coronavirus cases as a temporary blip. It finally unraveled late last month for Santos de Lima.
Her elderly father had fallen gravely ill with the coronavirus. He died Nov. 28, inside an ambulance outside the hospital, just as his long-awaited bed opened up.
“When the restrictions were relaxed, it resulted in this illusion that the problem was under control,” said Santos de Lima, 33, a public school teacher.
The city — and much of Brazil — is grappling with the sudden realization that there is nothing secure about this moment. The coronavirus has suddenly roared back.
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