SAO PAULO – The night before New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, thousands of revelers clad in their bathing suits crowded onto the iconic Ipanema beach to have some seaside drinks. It was one of many open-air parties along Brazil’s vast coastline since the summer heat set in and as the COVID-19 death toll climbed.
“It was so packed, you couldn’t set foot on the beach,” said a maintenance worker at a luxury apartment building across the street. “And it wasn’t just at night; the beach was packed during the day, too. And no one wears a mask!” He