The COVID-19 outbreak is nowhere close to simmering done as yet in Brazil, but residents of Paraisópolis, one of Sao Paulo's biggest favelas, are certain that they can’t afford to stay indoors any longer.

While the rich can afford to stay cooped up in their houses to combat the risk of getting infected by the virus, the lower-income strata of the working class are no longer willing to shut shop. Amid the chaos, a volley of Brazilians who call themselves “street presidents” believe that they can do their bit to stop the spread.

Helmed by Gilson Rodrigues, the community is taking strenuous efforts to get residents to understand the problem, ways to practice hygiene and stay indoors for as long as they can. “The information that's being disseminated about the virus doesn't work for the people on the periphery,” said Gilson, providing incisive details about the current state of affairs in the remote parts of Brazil. “Terms that are being used make no sense to the community here,” he added.

While strategies are being employed to get the residents to understand the importance of social distancing in times like these, several volunteers are of the opinion that people aren’t taking it seriously enough. “We've got to learn how to prevent the worst from happening so that when it eventually hits us, we are already half-way there,” said Flavia da Silva, as per a media report. 

With so much misinformation floating around, one of the biggest challenges that volunteers face is getting people to understand the intensity of the crisis. Rodrigues believes Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s hand in downplaying the seriousness of the virus is one of the biggest causes behind the prevailing negligence.

The leader's attempt to get the businesses running and overlooking the consequences of the outbreak has led to citizens getting mixed signals. “Jair Bolsonaro will be partly responsible for any deaths here because he's creating this situation. It's as if the 13 million people who live in slums in Brazil don't exist. There's been no policy to look after the country's favelas, we're being left to fend for ourselves,” he said. With the outbreak spiraling out of control in Brazil, smaller neighborhoods are preparing for the worst.

Jair Bolsonaro Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, attends an interview for Correio Brazilianse newspaper in Brasilia, June 6, 2018. Getty Images/ EVARISTO SA