Bolsonaro is one of four world leaders to minimize the public health threat from the coronavirus, alongside the authoritarian presidents of Nicaragua, Belarus and Turkmenistan.
At Easter, the far-right leader from Brazil repeatedly sniffed the distant recommendations of his own health ministry by going out for donuts, cheering on the fans and proclaiming: “No one is going to interfere with my right to go and come. During an outing, Bolsonaro was filmed wiping his nose with his wrist before shaking the hand of an elderly lady.
Public health and infectious disease experts believe that such behavior erodes the only measures that exist between Brazil – which killed more than 1,000 Covid-19 people – and a health care calamity.
“It’s as if everyone is on the same train towards a cliff and someone is saying,” Watch out! There is a cliff! And the passengers shout, “Oh no, there isn’t! And the train driver said, “Yeah, there’s nothing there! “Said Ivan França Junior, epidemiologist at the Faculty of Public Relations at the University of São Paulo. health. “My sadness comes from seeing preventable deaths that we are not going to avoid. “
Marcos Lago, an infectious disease specialist at the Pedro Ernesto University Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, said that Bolsonaro’s reckless behavior confused people about the need to stay at home.
“He is making a very dangerous bet … that Brazil will not behave like the United States, like England, like Italy. I think this is an irresponsible bet because there is a very high chance that a disaster will happen and the chances of not happening are very low. “
A third doctor, who asked not to be named, called Bolsonaro’s actions “childish” and “surreal.” “This is madness. There is no justification for this kind of behavior, “they said. “You can justify thinking about the business world. It’s cool trying to find [economic] solutions [to this crisis]. What’s not cool is ignoring what all the best epidemiology experts in the world say.
“People will get sick [in Brazil]and if they get sick at the same time, we’ll be in the same situation as Italy and Wuhan. “
Since mid-March, the governors of almost all of the 27 states in Brazil have been trying to slow down the transmission by order citizens inside. But there are signs that these efforts are crumbling, with an increasing number of people taking to the streets of cities like Rio and São Paulo.
Experts point to several possible explanations for the social distancing that doesn’t work in Brazil. One was the failure of state governments to sufficiently support the poor favela residents who had no choice but to work. Another problem was the difficulty of persuading exuberant and family-oriented Brazilians to flee their loved ones.
“Brazilians are really struggling with social distancing. We’re not used to it. We are used to living together, hugging and kissing, “said Tânia Vergara, president of the Rio Infectious Disease Society.