Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the president of Brazil and the Coronavirus.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Bolsonaro, an outlier among world leaders in his skepticism of both the coronavirus and preventive measures intended to curb it, was tested Monday evening after developing symptoms that included a fever.
Bolsonaro, has described covid-19, the disease the virus causes, as a “little cold,” repeatedly waded into crowds of supporters, threatened to host a large barbecue to defy health measures, and as recently as last week attended a Fourth of July party at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia without wearing a mask. A Brazilian court last month ordered Bolsonaro to wear a mask while in public.
Bolsonaro is the fourth world leader to test positive for the virus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated in intensive care in April; he has since recovered. Guinea-Bissau’s Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam tested positive in April. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was hospitalized last month. He announced last week he was leaving the hospital and resuming work.
Bolsonaro shared the news that he had contracted a highly infectious and potentially fatal virus at a news conference with reporters huddled near him. He wore a mask.
But he repeated the same talking points he has used since the beginning of the outbreak. He said some of the preventive measures have been exaggerated and urged Brazilians to prioritize the economy.
“Life will continue, and Brazil needs to produce,” he said. “If the economy isn’t functioning, it will create other problems that will lead to more death.”
He said he planned to continue working in isolation but has canceled travel.
Then he stepped several feet away and removed his mask to address the reporters.
“I’m good, relaxed,” he said. “Let’s be cautious with people who are older and have co morbidities. And for people who are younger, if you get the virus, stay calm. Because for you, the chance of it being more grave is practically zero.”
Bolsonaro won the presidency in 2018 on a populist message of cracking down on crime and corruption. But he has lost significant political support since the start of the outbreak here. Former allies have turned against him, his middle class base is expressing increasing disapproval, and some of the most powerful voices in the country have called for his resignation or impeachment.
Adding to this uncertainty has been the persistent guessing game of whether Bolsonaro had the coronavirus. In March, his communication secretary tested positive after President Trump hosted Bolsonaro, the secretary and others at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago. It sparked intense speculation and widely shared but inaccurate news accounts that Bolsonaro had contracted the virus.