Steve Inskeep, Brazil, NPR discussed on Morning Edition

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The listeners who support this NPR station it's morning edition from NPR news I'm no well king and I'm Steve Inskeep good morning Brazil is becoming the world's latest coronavirus hot spot it is now number three in the world with more confirmed covert nineteen cases than any other country except for two the United States is the world leader in corona virus cases followed by Russia in Brazil's largest city sao Paulo the mayor is warning the healthcare system is near collapse he and other officials are begging people to stay inside even though the president share Bolsonaro is urging just the opposite NPR's Philip Reeves in Rio de Janeiro either fill hi what's the situation in so Paulo well it's pretty serious the state's been scrambling to set up field hospitals and adding intensive care beds and buying respirators it's got nearly five thousand registered deaths and more than sixty thousand recorded cases there's been a sharp rise in the coastal areas now out in the interior of the state and you know they're struggling to cope in the greater sao Paulo metropolitan area almost ninety percent of intensive care beds already occupied and as you mentioned the mayor of sao Paulo's warning that the the health system could collapse completely in two weeks if people don't start taking social isolation more seriously every day he of the state government go in the media to urge people to stay at home so self hello giant city even bigger than New York facing the kind of calamity that New York faced and what is the president of Brazil sack well there is an open conflict between the state and particularly its governor Zhou and Doria and boasts an auto over this and and it's getting more acrimonious by the day both models opposes social isolation Brazil's heading for a very severe recession he wants the economy to open up now yeah we're in the middle of a worsening pandemic he doesn't even have a health minister right now the last one resigned last week after less than a month in the job the wonderful that was funded by both note of both those previous health ministers favored social isolation measures but both are not is is against the money's gone he's also treating social distancing with contempt he encourages crowds of his supporters to gather outside the presidential palace he goes out to greet them he did this Sunday and wound up doing push ups with some guys dressed in military uniforms trying to project limits I think that you know if you're a fit tough Brazilian this virus a little flu as both an hour's cold it won't hurt you it as it only impacts the old will people with pre existing medical conditions okay when president trump has said some things dismissing that social isolation or keeping it in place so long I was pointed out that state governors made the decision in the U. S. what about in Brazil when there's a conflict between state and national authority well it's it's the same as the supreme court's actually put the the the management of the pandemic into the hands in many ways of the governors and the mass and in some areas in the north the northeast where health systems already overwhelmed they have lockdowns but in much of the country the the governor is urging people to stay inside but not enforcing this very strongly so a lot of people are still going out a lot of areas have shops that are still open in sao Paulo for example that only managed to reduce numbers on the streets by about fifty percent the government says that's not enough and he's considering imposing a much stricter lockdown and if that happens the conflict between the state and both in our would sharply escalate NPR's Philip Reeves thanks very much you're welcome coal miners have been deemed essential workers during the pandemic but they're also uniquely at risk and advocates say they need to be protected here is Sydney bowls of W. M. M. T. and the Ohio valley resource coal miners start their shifts getting changed in closely packed rooms they ride rail cars to their worksite shoulder to shoulder sometimes for more than an hour and once they're underground ventilation designed to tamp down coldest circulates air through the mine there's no possible way to stay six foot apart in our minds at all the Stevens mind call for eleven years in Kentucky before he left the industry in part because of concerns for worker safety he doesn't trust coal companies to keep workers safe you can be almost section with fourteen million one guy gets sick all fourteen of them guys is gonna get sick at one point time what the signs that but the other guy health concerns for both current and retired miners Dr Brandon Crum is a radiologist in Pikeville Kentucky who identifies miners who have black lung disease a progressive and deadly condition he says even minors who don't have a black lung diagnosis can have reduced lung function after years or even decades underground even though we know there are high Rios being able to show that and documented and to follow it is going to be very difficult I think com the started calling patients one by one to make sure they have protective equipment that's the only way that I know to do it so we're starting with the worst and working our way back to individually call these guys and if they need mast they can come in while supplies last the federal mine safety and health administration or enjoy it says it encourages coal mine operators to take health precautions some mines have closed voluntarily and one mine operator told me he started providing hand sanitizer to his man but I'm sure has not issued specific policies to keep mine workers safe any precautions mine operators want to take our voluntary that's not good enough says Jermaine Assistant Secretary for M. Shah under the Obama administration within government declares a national emergency and tells those that are considered essential workers go to work to make sure the economy continues to operate but we're really not going to make sure you're protected the way that you should be a small coal miners have tested positive for coke at nineteen and at least two Alabama coal mines and one in Pennsylvania but then she says it doesn't have a comprehensive data on how many miners have tested positive for clothing nineteen they're not keeping track and coal states like West Virginia Kentucky and Wyoming are not providing numbers either John you're right is with the energy and environment cabinet in Kentucky yet at a fairly cold companies are not required to notify the cabinet of any positive coke in nineteen and we do not know of any inspectors or miners who have gotten L. Bobby Stevens the former coal miner we heard from earlier said he's worried for minors who may have black lung disease and not know it or no they have the disease and work anyway but then guys probably got the same mentality is that they've got a family we gotta go for it seizing extra pressure during the pandemic as demand for energy collapses many minds have laid off workers.

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