Brazilian President Tests Positive For COVID-19
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday following his 4th of July celebration with the US Ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman. Images from Bolsonaro's official Facebook page show him and Chapman together along with multiple US and Brazilian officials, none of whom were wearing masks or adhering to social distancing procedures.
Much like President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has previously downplayed the severity of the Novel Coronavirus as nothing more than a "little flu." The Brazilian President's entire demeanor changed during a public statement on Tuesday:
"Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me,"
"On Sunday, I wasn't feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain. I also had a 38 degree [Celsius] fever. Given those symptoms, the presidential doctor said there was suspicion of COVID-19,"
"We know the fatality of the virus for those of a certain age, like me, above 65, as well as for those with comorbidities, diseases, other issues. In those cases the virus could be decisive and lead to death; everyone knew that."
Bolsonaro was seen outside the presidential palace on Monday wearing a mask and telling supporters "You can't get very close, okay?"
Bolsonaro has publicly claimed that he is recovering due to treatment with the controversial antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine; the same drug President Donald Trump claims to be using as a preventative measure.
Brazil follows the United States with the second most COVID-19 cases per country. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, as of Monday there have been 65,000 deaths and 1,623,284 confirmed cases in Brazil alone.
As of now, Bolsonaro seems to be making a recovery. It is yet to be seen how this revelation may affect public health policy in Brazil.
Isaac Cary is a Breaking News Correspondent for The National Times.