No carnival this year: the traditional street parades in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) are suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the second year in a row that the festivities have been canceled.
“The street carnival as it took place until 2020 (…) will not take place in 2022”, announced on January 4 the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, in a live broadcast on social networks. He made this decision following a meeting with representatives of neighborhood music groups.
Eduardo Paes justified his choice by the progression of the Omicron variant: contaminations are on the rise again with around 8,000 people testing positive every day, while the number of new cases has been steadily decreasing since January 2021.
The Rio Carnival, which was scheduled to take place from February 25 to March 1, will be of limited magnitude. The processions of percussionists and dancers who usually roam the districts of the city will not take place. Only the parade of samba schools, traditionally held in the Sambodrome stadium, is maintained. This event is considered the climax of the Rio carnival. By 2020, the festivities drew more than seven million people.
With 620,000 deaths since March 2019, Brazil is the second country most bereaved by the pandemic, behind the United States (830,000 dead). A report by a Brazilian parliamentary commission of inquiry published in October 2021 estimates that this terrible toll could have been alleviated with better management of the health crisis. The attitude of President Jair Bolsonaro, anti-health pass and anti-vaccine, is particularly criticized.