Brazil’s President ‘So What?’ Comment on COVID-19 Death Toll Sparks Fury
Reactions have been trailing the comment made by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 5,000 people in the South American company.
The “so what?” comment was made by Bolsonaro on Tuesday when a journalist asked him about the number of casualties.
The off-the-cuff comment has been sparking anger from governors, politicians, healthcare professionals, and media figures. They have all expressed their outrage at his lack of empathy.
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Although Bolsonaro is not a stranger to controversy, his latest remark sparked such fury because Brazil is facing a seemingly uncontrollable outbreak of the disease and is still several weeks away from the peak of the pandemic.
AFP reports that there have been over 91,000 officially confirmed cases so far but scientists warn the real figure could be 15 to 20 times higher.
Presently, the death toll in Brazil is already over 6,300, this means that the giant South American country is facing as grim a scenario as Italy or the United States.
“So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” Bolsonaro said Tuesday when questioned about his country passing the 5,000-death mark, more than China. He joked that even though his middle name is Messias, or Messiah, “I don’t do miracles.”
Rio de Janeiro Governor, Wilson Witzel has described the president’s remarks “absolutely unacceptable.”
Witzel, whose state is on the verge of a public health meltdown, slammed the president for “being ironic about the deaths” rather than “being a leader at such a moment.”
“Do your job,” he said on Twitter Wednesday, the day when the pro-gun president was training at a target range, far from the woes of Brazil’s 210 million citizens.
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On his part, governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria which is also on the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus with over 2,500 deaths, replied furiously to Bolsonaro in the capital Brasilia.
“Get out of your Brasilia bubble,” he retorted, urging Bolsonaro to visit hospitals “in this country which is crying for its dead and infected.”