From: The Stream

Does Brazil’s Bolsonaro care about coronavirus?

The Stream looks at Latin America’s largest country’s struggle to fight the illness.

On Monday, May 4 at 19:30 GMT:
When Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was asked this week to respond to the fact his country had hit a record number of COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, his response took even some supporters by surprise. “So what?” he replied, unleashing a deluge of criticism.

Latin America’s largest country faces a growing health emergency as it contends with the twin challenges of coronavirus and political turmoil.

More than 91,000 people in Brazil are confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, but health authorities estimate the actual number to be at least 10 times higher.

Though millions are now at risk, Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the situation, referring to the pandemic as a “measly cold.” The far-right leader has also criticised the quarantine efforts of state governors, and even recently attended a protest against lockdowns in the capital Brasilia.

But as hospitals become overwhelmed with patients and mass graves proliferate, Bolsonaro is rapidly losing political clout. And the high-profile departures of his popular health and justice ministers in recent weeks have left him vulnerable to impeachment inquiries.

In the absence of federal leadership, gangs have stepped in to enforce social distancing measures in poorer neighborhoods. And some municipalities have begun offering universal basic income and food relief to their residents.

In this episode we ask, does Brazil’s Bolsonaro care about coronavirus?

On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:
Marcelo Lins, @MarceloLins68
Journalist, Globe News

Edmund Ruge @EdmundRuge
Editor, RioOnWatch 

Leticia Dáquer @pacamanca
Translator and podcaster

Read more:
Virus surge in Brazil brings a coffin shortage, morgue chaos – Associated Press
Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 denial will devastate vulnerable Brazilians – Al Jazeera
Brazil top court orders probe into accusations against Bolsonaro – Al Jazeera
‘So what?’: Bolsonaro shrugs off Brazil’s rising coronavirus death toll – The Guardian