Brazil has become the country with the third highest number of new coronavirus infections in the world, with a total of more than 250,000 confirmed cases, only the United States and Russia are more than Brazil.
Experts say that insufficient testing may mean that the actual cases in Brazil are 1.5 times higher.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the risk of the virus and compared the new coronavirus to a “small flu.”
His handling of the outbreak, including calls for state governors to lift the blockade, sparked criticism and led to the resignation of Health Minister Nelson Teich last week. Teich’s predecessor (Luiz Mandetta) was fired for disagreement with the president on measures to maintain social distance.
However, Bolsonaro focused his efforts on reducing the impact of the epidemic on the economy, which was supported by many people. Supporters organized rallies against the blockade, and the president also participated in some of them.
How bad is the outbreak in Brazil?
At present, more than 250,000 cases have been diagnosed in Brazil. More than 16,000 New Coronavirus patients died, ranking sixth in the world.
Bruno Covas, the mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil, warned that Sao Paulo’s health system may collapse within two weeks.
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with a population of approximately 12 million. Officials said that most residents did not attach importance to maintaining social distance. More than 3,000 people in São Paulo died of the new coronavirus.
It is not only the city center that was severely affected by the epidemic. As of Monday, there were nearly 21,000 confirmed cases in Amazonia. The medical system in Manaus, the state capital, is already overwhelmed.
How does the president handle the crisis?
Brazilian President Bolsonaro has always opposed the blockade, arguing that it will harm the national economy.
In March, he delivered a speech calling on the mayor and the governor to remove restrictions: “Our lives must continue, we must keep our jobs, we must return to normal.”
Bolsonaro referred to the “scorched earth” policy of closing businesses and schools and restricting public transportation.
Despite the rapid rise in infection rates, Bolsonaro believes that most people, including himself, feel nothing to be afraid of the virus.
“Based on my experience as an athlete, if I am infected with the virus, there is no reason to worry. I can’t feel anything. Perhaps at most it’s just a small flu,” he said.