President Jair Bolsonaro and Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta Hold a Press Conference about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Brazilian president, who has consistently downplayed the dangers of the virus, revealed his positive test result during nationally televised remarks Tuesday. “It came back positive,” he told reporters from behind a mask.

He is just the second major world leader, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to confirm he contracted the virus.

With more than 1.6 million confirmed cases as of Tuesday, Brazil is in the throes of the world’s second-largest outbreak, behind only the U.S. More than 65,000 people there have died of complications linked with COVID-19 — a towering death toll that again stands second only to that of the U.S. And because of a significant lag in testing, Brazilian researchers believe the real numbers are much, much higher than the official tallies.

Yet Bolsonaro, 65, has repeatedly doubted the severity of the virus since it first found a foothold in Brazil, reportedly in late February. A key ally of U.S. President Trump, the right-wing Brazilian leader has called the coronavirus “a little flu,” accused the media of hysteria and campaigned against the shutdowns implemented by local leaders.

NPR
Featured Image Credit: Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, takes off his protective mask to speak to journalists during a press conference about outbreak of the coronavirus at the Planalto Palace on March 20, 2020 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andressa Anholete / Getty

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