Brazil now has the second-highest number of novel coronavirus cases (SARS-CoV-2) in the world, with over 376,000 confirmed cases and over 23,000 deaths. As precious test kits are frantically handed out while hospitals continue to fill, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro seems less concerned.
What has become known as ‘Bolsonarismo’ – the president’s resistance against the establishment and political correctness – has led to a chaotic response to the outbreak in the largest nation in South America.
He has referred to the virus as a “little flu,” has said he does not work “miracles” when asked about the nation’s rapidly increasing death toll, as well as authorized the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine – unproven until now to effectively combat the virus. Two health ministers who were both in the role for under a month have since left and now Bolsanaro is taking matters into his own hands.
On Saturday, May 22, the president boldly ventured into the city of Brasilia to buy a hotdog from a street vendor while video-recording live on Facebook. Selfies were taken, while supporters shouted the name which the people have come to call the president – ‘Mito’, meaning myth. Banging pots and pans could also be heard in the background from surrounding apartments – an orchestra protesting the Brazilian’s handling of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Washington has brought forward travel restrictions to the United States from Brazil by two days earlier than scheduled. A White House statement amended the restriction commencement to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 26 – when it was originally said to come into force on May 28. The statement did not provide a reason for the change.
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