Things That Matter

Rio’s Christ The Redeemer Lights Up To Honor Healthcare Workers Around The World

Healthcare workers need all the support they can get during this crisis. They’re literally on the front lines of a battle against an invisible enemy and in many places, they’re not being given the recognition they need and deserve.

However, some communities have come together to show their support. From giant mariachi bands in Mexico City to the Effie Tower’s message of hope – and now Rio’s Christ statue – we hope these brave healthcare workers are feeling all the love.

Rio’s archdioceses held Easter services at the base of the famed statue and paid tribute to healthcare workers.

SILVIA IZQUIERDO / GETTY

With churches and other houses of worship closed to maintain social distancing measures, Brazilian archbishop Orani Tempesta conducted an Easter service at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro—and projected a special message onto the 125-foot-tall statue.

For the second time since the coronavirus escalated to a global pandemic, the statue appeared illuminated with images of the flags of countries hardest hit by the virus, including the United States, China, Spain, Italy, and Brazil, and the words “hope,” “thanks,” and “stay home” written in various languages.

Projected images of doctors and nurses also intermittently appeared on the figure, putting individual faces to that vital workforce.

The statue, depicting Christ with outstretched arms, was also dressed up in a doctor’s scrubs, lab coat, and stethoscope as a tribute to the healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic.

The images that lit up the sky on Easter Sunday provided a different message than the one that Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro has been sharing.

Brazil has so far recorded more than 22,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,230 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. However, President Jair Bolsonaro remains one of the few world leaders playing down the threat of the disease.

The populist leader has continued to push back on social-distancing policies in recent weeks, dismissing the coronavirus as a “little flu” and saying Brazil will suffer more if the economy collapses.

In fact, over the weekend he scoffed at social distancing measures, telling local media outlets “No one will hinder my right to come and go.”

Rio’s famed statue has been closed by the pandemic since mid-March – along with much of the country’s top attractions.

The famed statue has withstood the worst of what the elements could throw its way for nearly nine decades. Now it, too, is succumbing to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. 

The 125-foot-tall statue, which last year saw almost 2 million visitors, closed on March 17 and won’t reopen for at least a month. To contain the virus’ spread, Brazil’s Chico Mendes Institute on Tuesday ordered the closure of all national parks it oversees, including the one that’s home to the Christ statue.

Rio seems less marvelous by the day with the creep of the new virus. Firemen began blaring recordings that urge beachgoers to stay home, one day before Rio’s Gov. Wilson Witzel decreed a state of emergency.

Among other things, Witzel’s decree recommended that restaurants and bars limit themselves to 30% capacity for 15 days, that boats and buses halve their passenger loads, that shopping malls close and people avoid beaches and public pools. The decree also suspended classes and all other activities and events that entail gatherings.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com