The party’s on: Zika won’t stop Brazil Carnival-goers from having a good time

Revelers parade at the Banda de Ipanema carnival block party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Rio de Janeiro's over-the-top Carnival is the highlight of the year for many local residents. Hundreds of thousands of merrymakers will take to Rio's streets in hundreds of open-air "bloco" parties. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Revelers parade at the Banda de Ipanema carnival block party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Rio de Janeiro’s over-the-top Carnival is the highlight of the year for many local residents. Hundreds of thousands of merrymakers will take to Rio’s streets in hundreds of open-air “bloco” parties. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)


(SOURCE)   Despite warnings to cover up and slather on repellent, many Brazilian Carnival-goers insist that the show will go on as it always has, in just a sprinkling of sequins and a few puffs of feather. Pants, long-sleeve shirts and bug spray, they say, are antithetical to the hedonistic, out-of-control spirit of Carnival. This year’s celebrations, which begin Friday, come at a time when Brazil has little to celebrate. Latin America’s largest country is mired in its worst recession in generations, and impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff are looming.

We need joy. And Carnival is the easiest way of doling out a stiff dose of joy to everyone.
Angela Pessanha, a self-described “Carnival nut” and owner of a home furnishings store

The world’s Carnival capital, Rio de Janeiro, has been less hard-hit by the Zika outbreak than the country’s poor northeastern region, where most cases both of the virus and the birth defect microcephaly have been concentrated. Still, epidemiologists have called Carnival an “explosive cocktail” for the spread of Zika due to the potent combination of heat, crowds and exposed skin. This has prompted Rio authorities to step up their efforts against the mosquito. Fumigators have been plying the Sambadrome, where thousands of dancers in assemble. Health workers will be deployed to many of the city’s more than 500 street parties, or “blocos.” They’re also urging revelers to cover up, but those admonitions appear to be falling on deaf ears, judging by the amount of bare skin on display at the pre-Carnival blocos that have flooded the streets in recent days.

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