President Bolsonaro of Brazil Tested Positive for Coronavirus
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has railed against social distancing measures and repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as the epidemic in his country became the second-worst in the world, said Tuesday that he, too, had been infected.
Critics at home and abroad have called Mr. Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic cavalier and reckless, allowing the virus to surge across Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation. At one point he dismissed it as “a measly cold,” and when asked in late April about the rising death toll, he replied: “So what? Sorry, but what do you want me to do?”
As the caseload has skyrocketed, Mr. Bolsonaro has shunned masks, attended mass rallies of his supporters, insisted that the virus poses no threat to healthy people, championed unproven remedies and shuffled through health ministers who disagreed with him.
Brazil now has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 65,000 deaths — more than any country except the United States.
Mr. Bolsonaro fell ill two days after he and a handful of his ministers attended a Fourth of July luncheon at the residence of Todd Chapman, the American ambassador in Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro and other attendees sat shoulder-to-shoulder, embracing with no masks. The ambassador and his wife have since tested negative for the virus, but will remain at home, in quarantine, the embassy said.