RIO DE JANEIRO – He's shown disdain for facts and science-based recommendations. He's said the public will eventually realize they were "tricked" by governors and large parts of the media over a "measly little cold." He's embraced chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the coronavirus despite no evidence of the anti-malaria drugs' effectiveness in fighting the disease.
As Brazil's coronavirus infections have surged to a level surpassed only by the United States, President Jair Bolsonaro, the leader of Latin America's largest country, has followed a near-identical coronavirus script to President Donald Trump.
Like Trump, Bolsonaro has downplayed the dangers of the pandemic and argued against an aggressive national lockdown. He has continued to attend large political rallies, where he shakes hands with supporters and has touted his #BrazilCannotStop campaign, which asked people to get back to work and normal life. A federal judge later banned it. He has replaced two health ministers who publicly disagreed with his COVID-19 approach with military officials – a near but not total parallel to the case of U.S. health official Rick Bright, who claimed he was ousted from his position after raising concerns about Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine.