Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas
ADVERTISEMENT

Brazil's infected president touts malaria drug

by MARCELO DE SOUSA AND DAVID BILLER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | July 9, 2020 at 3:47 a.m.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, right, talks to one of his military advisors outside his official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he is infected with the coronavirus, on Wednesday defended his government's handling of the pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of Brazilians and touted his use of a contentious anti-malaria drug.

Bolsonaro posted on Facebook a photo of himself eating breakfast, and a message that said his government provided payouts to informal sector laborers, thereby saving jobs and lives without spreading panic about the pandemic. The nation's confirmed death toll from the virus was more than 66,000 as of Wednesday and is the second-highest in the world after the United States.

"No country in the world did it like Brazil," Bolsonaro said. "For those who root against hydroxychloroquine, but don't present alternatives, I regret to inform you that I'm very well with its use and, with God's grace, I will live for a long time still."

Bolsonaro said Tuesday that he tested positive for the virus, after months of downplaying its severity.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

A string of studies in Britain and the United States, as well as by the World Health Organization, have found hydroxychloroquine ineffective and sometimes deadly because of its effects on the heart. Several studies were canceled early because of that.

The president told reporters he underwent a lung X-ray on Monday after experiencing fever, muscle aches and malaise. As of Tuesday, his fever had subsided, he said, and he attributed the improvement to hydroxychloroquine.

He stepped back from the journalists and removed his mask at one point to show that he looked well.

Later Tuesday, he posted a video to Facebook of him taking his third dose of hydroxychloroquine, which has been used by President Donald Trump, although the president has never tested positive for the coronavirus.

Other world leaders who have had bouts with covid-19 include British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHFjBUvrOO8]

Bolsonaro is "the democratic leader who has most denied the seriousness of this pandemic," said Mauricio Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. "Him getting infected is a blow to his credibility. It will be seen as another example of the failure of his coronavirus response."

Bolsonaro has often appeared in public to shake hands with supporters and mingle with crowds, at times without a mask. He has said that his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus and that it would be nothing more than a "little flu" if he were to contract it.

He has also repeatedly said that there is no way to prevent 70 percent of the population falling ill with the virus and that authorities' efforts to shut down economic activity would ultimately cause more hardship than allowing the virus to run its course.

For nearly two months, Brazil's fight against the virus has been in the hands of an interim health minister with no health experience before April. He took over after his predecessor, a doctor and health care consultant, quit in protest over Bolsonaro's support for hydroxychloroquine.

Brazilian cities and states last month began lifting restrictions that had been imposed to control the spread of the virus, as deaths began to decline along with the caseload in intensive care units.

Bolsonaro supporter Silas Ribeiro said on the streets of Rio that the president is correct in saying the dangers of the virus have been exaggerated.

"Our president is a popular man. He is showing that he isn't afraid to die," said Ribeiro, 59. "He is going to have health and get through this sickness."

Information for this article was contributed by Diarlei Rodrigues of The Associated Press.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands as he takes a walk outside his official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands as he takes a walk outside his official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
FILE - In this May 15, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
FILE - In this May 15, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
FILE - In this May 25, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus's severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
FILE - In this May 25, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus's severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
A worker cleans outside the presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A worker cleans outside the presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers hold the flag-raising ceremony outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers hold the flag-raising ceremony outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
An evangelical pastor prays for Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he tested positive for COVID-19, outside Alvorada Palace, the president's official residence in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
An evangelical pastor prays for Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he tested positive for COVID-19, outside Alvorada Palace, the president's official residence in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers patrol outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers patrol outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands with his arms crossed outside the official presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands with his arms crossed outside the official presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers hold a flag-raising ceremony outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Soldiers hold a flag-raising ceremony outside the president's official residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT