February 26, 2020 was an unforgettable day for the 40-year-old mayor when he began his treatment for lymphoma and was at the same time he received word that his city had reported a Covid-19 case. first in Brazil.
This is the third cancer he discovered in just a few months, just after stomach cancer and liver cancer. He successfully defended two tumors in the stomach and liver with chemotherapy.
“I never thought I was going to resign. The doctor never said I had to do that,” Covas said in an interview with AFP news agency.
Although his hair was falling out, his body was emaciated from chemotherapy, Mr. Covas worked day and night to lead the battle against the pandemic in Sao Paulo, which was hardest hit by Covid-19 in Latin America. more than 40,000 people were sick, of which more than 3,000 died.
Along with Governor Joao Doria, Mr. Covas has implemented a series of stringent epidemic policies such as requiring people to stay indoors, close schools and unnecessary businesses from March 24. Mr Covas said his biggest difficulty was getting people in Brazil’s biggest city to follow orders at home. The location data shows that only about half of Sao Paulo’s 12 million people respect orders at home – something that annoys Mr. Covas. “We have isolated the society for nearly 2 months, so every day we ask people to sacrifice more,” he said.
Since the order at home took effect, Mr. Covas rarely left town hall, he even ate and slept in the office.
In addition to visiting the hospital from time to time or meeting with officials, Mr. Covias mostly stayed in the office inside the 15-storey headquarters. Mr. Covas divorced and visited his 14-year-old son a few times a week, while the rest of his time was devoted to work. He said he wanted to be available 24 hours a day to serve the people of Sao Paulo.
Brazil has become the second largest epidemic in the world after the US with more than 365,000 cases, of which about 23,000 died. The epidemic has not shown signs of peaking, so Mr. Covas’ sleep and sleep at the office may not be over soon.
Mr. Covas took office in April 2018. He was elected a state senator at age 26 and later became deputy mayor. Recognizing the challenges his administration is facing, Mr. Covas also asserted: “We will overcome this crisis better than many other big cities.”
Hospitals in Sao Paulo are nearly overcrowded, but Mr. Covas said he was proud because the hospitals were not forced to reject any patients. He and local authorities are working hard to strengthen the health system.
According to the AFP