Throughout the course of the pandemic, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the threat posed by COVID-19, which continues to sweep across the Latin American nation of around 210 million people.
In a public statement released in late March, Bolsonaro said that normalcy had to continue. “Our lives have to go on. Jobs must be kept.” He continued to call coronavirus “a little flu” and said his history as an athlete would protect him.
When asked about the country’s death toll, which now tops 6,000, the president responded, “so what?”
Bolsonaro went on to say, “I’m sorry, what do you want me to do?” and “I am called Messias, [a reference to his surname, Messias, which means “Messiah” in Portuguese] but I can’t perform miracles.”
Anger swept across the country and social media outlets. Estado de Minas, a Brazilian newspaper, placed the president’s words on a black front page next to the nation’s death toll.
Left-wing political opponent Marcelo Freixo took to Twitter where he stated, “Bolsonaro isn’t just an awful politician and a bad president, he’s a despicable human being.”
Redfish, a German media company, included the president’s words in a tweet that included drone footage capturing a mass graveyard where some of the reported 6,000 people who have died were set to be buried.
#ForaBolsonaroUrgente, which calls for the urgent removal of the president, was also trending on Twitter.
However, some agree with the president’s statements that the pandemic isn’t worth panicking about. This sentiment is especially prevalent among the wealthy, leading to the undermining of quarantine and lockdown regulations.
After recovering from COVID-19, personal trainer Gabriela Pugliesi posted a video during a party she threw at her São Paulo apartment. With not a mask in sight, Pugliesi yelled into the camera, “Screw life!”
After losing more than 100,000 followers and her sponsors, Pugliesi apologized and suspended her Instagram account.
It is said that Brazil is still weeks away from reaching the peak of the viral curve.
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