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International News

Brazilian President Bolsonaro Tests Positive for COVID-19

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Brazilian President Bolsonaro Tests Positive for COVID-19

2020-07-08 12:35:49

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jair Bolsonaro (Image source:Screenshot)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is continually compared to Donald Trump, especially with their reactions to the coronavirus. He continued that on Tuesday with his announcement that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Not that Trump has made the same announcement, but it was in the same carefree manner in which he made the announcement.

Unbelievably, he slid his face mask off after making the announcement to the press. He quickly followed this by stating he felt well.

There are 1.6 million who have tested positive in Brazil, and 66,000 have died from the disease. Only the United States has fared worse. In some areas in Brazil, the death count increased five times over during May.

Bolsonaro, 65, had said previously that his history as an athlete would keep him protected from COVID-19 and that his reaction to it would be nothing more than a "little flu."

Since April, he has removed two health ministers and gone after state governors and local mayors for their strict lockdown procedures and has posed for selfies with the public.

Michael Ryan, the director of the World Health Organization, reacted to the news of the Brazilian president testing positive, noting that when it comes to the virus, "no one is special." He added, "The virus does not know really who we are, whether we are a prince or pauper, we are equally vulnerable."

Bolsonaro reported he's confident he will recover swiftly thanks to taking hydroxychloroquine, the drug Trump pushed and claimed to have taken, that has been shown in studies to cause more deaths.

The Brazilian leader even posted a video to Facebook of him taking a dose on camera, laughing, then flashing a thumbs-up. "Today I'm a lot better, so certainly it's working," he said.

"We know today there are other remedies that can help fight the coronavirus. We know none of them have their efficacy scientifically proven, but I'm one more person for whom this is working. So, I trust hydroxychloroquine," he continued.

Like in the United States, there seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the severity of the coronavirus, and it seems to be seeping into politics.

Silas Ribeiro, one of Bolsonaro's supporters, told the Associated Press, "Our president is a popular man. He is showing that he isn't afraid to die," adding, "He is going to have health and get through this sickness."

Wesley Morielo, a student, told the AP that he hopes this causes Bolsonaro to reassess his viewpoint on coronavirus. "I think everything he said before of not giving importance to COVID-19, came back against him."

During the past weekend, Bolsonaro met with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Todd C. Chapman. Photos posted to social media showed them in close proximity and not wearing masks, along with several ministers and aides. The U.S. Embassy said Chapman was not showing any symptoms but that he would be tested anyway as a precaution.

Other leaders tested positive as well on Tuesday. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Twitter she'd tested positive. "COVID-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive," she wrote.

Interviewed on MSNBC, she said she and her husband decided to get tested as they had been sleeping more than usual and were shocked at the results.

"It leaves me for a loss of words because I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is. We've taken all the precautions that you can possibly take. I have no idea when and where we were exposed," she said. 

Mississippi state Senate staff confirmed on Tuesday that Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has tested positive for the virus as well. He'll work from home after being diagnosed. Several members of the Mississippi state legislature have tested positive as well.

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