Brazilian President Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus

Brazilian President Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus
Image by Isac Nóbrega

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been the leading coronavirus skeptic in Latin America, sounding downright Trumpian in his assertions that the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic is being exaggerated by liberal journalists, activists and politicians. And now, The Guardian is reporting that the 65-year-old Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Brazilian television, Bolsonaro was seen on Tuesday, July 7 wearing a mask and confirming that his test “came back positive.”

Bolsonaro asserted, “There’s no reason for fear. That’s life. Life goes on. I thank God for my life and the role I’ve been given to decide the future of this great nation that is called Brazil.”

The Brazilian president has repeatedly downplayed the severity of COVID-19 and criticized social distancing, often echoing the type of rhetoric that far-right Trump supporters have espoused in the United States. But Brazil has the second highest COVID-19 death rate in the world. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the pandemic has killed more than 65,400 people in Brazil.

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