The Guardian’s Take on Bolsonaro’s Covid Strategy: Deadly Madness

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The Guardian’s Take on Bolsonaro’s Covid Strategy: Deadly Madness


To To describe the 1,180-page Brazilian Senate report on Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid pandemic as damning would be inadequate. Officially approved by an all-party committee on Tuesday, the report chronicles not only bad leadership, but also willful and murderous acts of madness, perpetrated by a Donald Trump mini-me who sacrificed lives on the altar of his own unfounded assumptions. . He recommends that President Bolsonaro be prosecuted for a catalog of actions and omissions that could have resulted in up to 300,000 preventable deaths.

As Mr Bolsonaro presided over a death toll that is now the second highest in the world (after the United States), the report reveals that he deliberately sent his citizens over defenseless in the battle against Covid. Other countries rushed to buy vaccines when they became available; the president delayed for six months while ruthlessly pursuing a strategy of collective immunity. He himself claims that he has not yet been vaccinated. When Brazilians suffered a record increase in the number of deaths in a 24-hour period last March, their president told them to “stop whining.” Wearing masks and social distancing were treated by Mr Bolsonaro as some kind of weakness in the face of what he described as a ‘little flu’, and he trolled attempts by regional governments to introduce Covid restrictions . By presidential decree, he tried to keep businesses such as gyms and spas open during the height of the pandemic. Imitating his political hero in Washington, Mr. Bolsonaro has disseminated disinformation online and recommended quack treatment for the virus, based on all the scientific evidence. This week, Facebook and YouTube removed a video of him that falsely linked vaccines to the AIDS virus. President Bolsonaro’s guiding philosophy during the pandemic is best summed up by the comment he made to reporters a year ago: “We are all going to die one day … There is no point in escaping this, escaping to reality. We must stop being a country of sissies.

The congressional report rightly calls Mr Bolsonaro’s response to the Covid pandemic “macabre”. His allegation of crimes against humanity should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Senators are calling on Brazilian prosecutors to try the president on charges, including abuse of public funds and charlatanism. An impeachment procedure would also be possible, given the findings of the investigation. But while he remains in office, Mr Bolsonaro has supporters in key positions who will ensure that none of this happens. A campaign is already underway to qualify the report as politically motivated, ahead of elections scheduled for a year from now.

The court of public opinion is another matter. Hearings during the inquiry were televised and ratings for the president plummeted. The lasting impact of this devastating indictment of a president could be to tear Mr. Bolsonaro’s credibility to pieces, lose him in the next election and make him vulnerable to future prosecution. It is a result that we must ardently hope for. It could also be of some consolation to those millions of grieving parents, whose bereavement has been treated with cavalier indifference by this unworthy leader of a great nation.

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