Manaus: Death in the Amazon

by | Feb 1, 2021

Yan Boechat was the third-place winner (tied) in the photo competition “Documenting the Impact of Covid-19 through Photography: Collective Isolation in Latin America,” curated in collaboration with ReVista and the Art, Culture, and Film program at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS.)

The exhibition, based on an Open Call for Photography launched in July 2020, aims to create a critical visual record of our unprecedented times so they can be remembered by future generations.


Manaus, a metropolis of more than two million inhabitants in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, suered the lethal impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic like no other Brazilian city. Hospitals without respirators, ambulances without oxygen, mass graves. Manaus succumbed to the new coronavirus quickly and brutally. 

Fear took over this city founded by the Portuguese at the end of the 17th century. Terrified by the stories of suering and lonely deaths, many people adopted a negationist attitude towards the disease. Even with the clear symptoms of Covid-19, they refused to seek medical help. The number of people dying in their homes quickly exploded. 

These photos tell this story. The history of Brazilians who lost their lives due, many times, to the State’s inability to provide the most basic care in a time of crisis. These are stories of poor people, victims of the incredible inequality that marks this country. 


Yan Boechat is a professional journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering important stories both in Brazil and abroad. He works or has worked in the main Brazilian media outlets as a reporter and photographer, as well as for international media such as The New York Times, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and Knack. 


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