From the news coverage or rather lack of it, it is difficult to figure this out but Brazil is the second worst hit country after United States, from the Coronavirus pandemic. Brazil’s Health Ministry has reported COVID-19 statistics on Thursday, 18th June which shows that the country fast approaching the sad numbers of 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths. Brazil now has 978,142 confirmed cases and 47,748 deaths, up 1,238 from Wednesday, the ministry said. There are also several reports which have indicated that these official numbers are on the lower side and many of the cases remain undetected by official agencies and hence, unreported.
In our insight on 14th May 2020, we had spoken about that how after tracking the news from across the world and from more than 30 countries for a considerable period, the evidence was conclusive that the tragedy was serious in South America just like many other parts of the World such as Europe and North America, but there was not enough coverage on it. The effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on South America was equally bad (if not worse than other parts of the world) and countries like Brazil, Peru and Ecuador were struggling badly, but there was not much news coming from there.
The situation has hardly changed on the ground and most the of the news flow is still capturing more of what should be seen as less relevant though more interesting developments. For examples, what EM Alpha machines captured more prominently over last twenty-four hours also include news items such as;
- Aspirin in honey, raw garlic and other such dubious COVID-19 ‘cures’ spread in Brazil. Suggestions for countless improvised remedies are transmitted by WhatsApp, Facebook or old-fashioned word of mouth. In the Amazon, villagers are relying on herbal remedies like tea of jambu, which is usually used to treat toothache.
- Rio restarts soccer league next to a field hospital for coronavirus. The first professional soccer match in South America in nearly three months was staged in a stadium only meters away from a field hospital for Covid-19 patients. The local league game that was witnessed by fewer than 200 people in Brazil’s 78,000-seat Maracana Stadium on Thursday night.
The core issue is not what the news flow is capturing but whether the more serious issues are getting enough attention or are they getting lost in diffused coverage. Not so much in the countries Europe and North America, but in many Asian and South American countries, this has been a serious problem. In our EMAlpha news capture, we find some of these trivial matters getting more prominence in Asian and South American countries while that has not been the case elsewhere.
Has it weakened the fight against Coronavirus in these countries, there is a clear possibility of it. That could be the saddest part in this entire story. So, it is true that Global Media was late in reacting to Coronavirus pandemic in Brazil but does the News flow still capture seriousness of problem? Perhaps Not.
EM Alpha LLC
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EMAlpha, a data analytics and investment management firm focused on making Emerging Markets (EMs) accessible to global investors and unlocking EM investing using machines. EMAlpha’s focus is on Unstructured Data as the EMs are particularly susceptible to swings in news flow driven investor sentiment. We use thoroughly researched machine learning tools to track evolving sentiment specifically towards EMs and EMAlpha pays special attention to the timely measurement of news sentiment for investors as these markets can be finicky and sentiment can be capricious.Our team members have deep expertise in research and trading in multiple Emerging Markets and EMAlpha’s collaborative approach to combining machine learning tools with a fundamental approach help us understand these markets better.
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