Oops, he broke Brazil: Covid is toppling ‘Trump of the Tropics’

World

Oops, he broke Brazil: Covid is toppling ‘Trump of the Tropics’

Crudely defiant Jair Bolsonaro is in deep water as his country becomes the epicentre of the pandemic

Euan Marshall

On a warm evening in São Paulo, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, held his head high and stared into the camera to address an expectant nation. Coronavirus deaths had just ticked slowly up to 57 as millions tuned in to hear the government’s plans to combat the pandemic that was beginning to wreak havoc in Europe and the US.

What they got was a potent mix of denial and hostility.

The president decried the “hysteria” of the press for spreading fear, dismissing the virus as a “little flu”. The man who came within a whisker of death just two years ago after he was stabbed on the campaign trail, mustered a smirk as he claimed he would be immune from any of the disease’s severe symptoms owing to his “past as an athlete”...

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