The president of the brazilian Jair Bolsonaro has announced on Tuesday to have been infected by the coronavirus, that he has long called “a little cold”, even if the pandemic has already made more than 65, 000 deaths in his country.
“As president, I am always first in line. Life goes on, we need to be careful with the elderly, but not worth freaking out”, said the head of the State, 65 years old, during an interview to several tv channels.
“It started Sunday, I did not feel very well, it got worse on Monday, I felt fatigue and I had 38 degrees of fever”, he revealed.
“I made a radio to the hospital […] and my lungs were clean. The doctors have given me hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (an antibiotic) and after I felt better. I am perfectly well,” added Mr Bolsonaro.
The president appeared many times among his supporters, without wearing a mask or respect of distance physical.
It has, furthermore, been considerably watered down recently a law which would make wearing a mask is mandatory on the entire territory.
“I confess that I thought that I had already been infected before, without experiencing symptoms […]. If I hadn’t done the screening, I would have been able to contaminate people,” admitted the president, who appeared many times among his supporters, without wearing a mask or respect the distancing physical.
He said that it would work now the more possible, “videoconference”, after the cancellation of several planned trips this week.
But that didn’t stop him from removing the protective mask he wore, at the end of the interview with the journalists: “Like this, you can see my face and see that I’m fine!”
The announcement of the positive test has put the social networks in turmoil, with the hashtags #ForçaBolsonaro (courage Bolsonaro) or #forcacorona (for its detractors) as the top mentions on Twitter.
The director-general of the world Organization of Health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has wished a “rapid recovery” the brazilian president.
“No country is immune, no country is immune, and no individual can be free”, he said, while the head of the emergency health of the WHO, Michael Ryan, has estimated that “prince or poor, we are all equally vulnerable” in the face of the virus.
The governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, one of its strongest opponents, he has expressed well wishes and tinged with irony.
“He follows the guidelines of the medicine and it will soon be on foot,” he tweeted.
An allusion to the presidential address that was diametrically opposite to that of the doctors, including the last two ministers of Health of Jair Bolsonaro.
“This confirms that the virus continues to circulate extremely active,” said one of them, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, to the channel Globonews. “He will recover well, but what does he think of those who do not have access to radios since the first day, or to a private doctor”, he added.
The president Bolsonaro has always downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.
“Given my background as a athlete, if I was contaminated by the virus, I wouldn’t have to worry about. I do not feel anything. At worst, this would be like a little influenza, a little cold,” he said at the end of march.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it is strongly opposed to containment measures taken by the governors of the States, believing that the priority was to maintain employment to avoid the “social chaos”.
Lawyer of hydroxychloroquine
The president Bolsonaro has also had to defend again tooth and nail the hydroxychloroquine, the effectiveness of which against the COVID-19 has never been proven scientifically. It is recommended by the brazilian government, including for patients with mild symptoms.
“I felt bad, but if I had taken hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure, I do not present any symptoms”, he assured.
The american president Donald Trump, which Mr. Bolsonaro is a fervent admirer, had revealed in may that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.
A few hours after the announcement of the positive test, the brazilian president has released on Facebook a video of him taking one tablet of hydroxychloroquine.
“I take my third dose, I feel very good, I wasn’t going very well Sunday, I was sore Monday, but today, I’m going to even better than Saturday”, he started smiling.