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- Author or Editor: Natalia Pires de Vasconcelos x
This chapter examines the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on judicial protection of the right to health for those incarcerated and free. In both cases, courts in Brazil had significant incentives to take the pandemic seriously and to consider its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. For the judicial system, however, it has mostly been business as usual. Despite the pandemic, judges have been unwilling to guarantee the right to health for those imprisoned. By analysing habeas corpus decisions on petitions filed because of COVID-19 and the higher risks faced inside prisons, the chapter reveals how judges were indifferent to the public-health risks presented by overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. For those who are free, most health litigation was still presented in the form of individual cases seeking access to uncovered services and medicines. These cases followed the same patterns as before the pandemic: courts kept deciding in favour of claimants regardless of the potential disruptive effects of their decisions over public policy, including priorities related to COVID-19.