For weeks, President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters have made their presence felt with the roar of motorcycles during boisterous rallies meant to show steadfast fealty to an increasingly unpopular leader.
Until recently, the president’s opponents had refrained from convening street protests, opting instead to show their exasperation by banging pots and pans from windows and trading memes online.
But over the weekend, thousands of Brazilians critical of Mr. Bolsonaro took to the streets in the largest public mobilization against the president since the beginning of the pandemic.
Their show of force in cities across the country followed a series of damning revelations in congressional hearings examining the government’s catastrophic response to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 461,000 Brazilians.
From the start of the outbreak, Brazil’s president has been skeptical of the disease’s impact, and scorned the guidance of health experts, arguing that the economic damage wrought by the lockdowns, business closures and mobility restrictions they recommended would be a bigger threat than the pandemic to the country’s weak economy.
More than a year into the pandemic, deaths in Brazil are at their peak and highly contagious variants of the coronavirus are sweeping the nation, enabled by political dysfunction, widespread complacency and conspiracy theories. The country, whose leader, President Jair Bolsonaro, has played down the threat of the virus, is now reporting more new cases and deaths per day than any other country in the world.
Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro followed Trump’s coronavirus blueprint. Now its cases are surging. (USA Today, 6/10/2020)
He's shown disdain for facts and science-based recommendations. He's said the public will eventually realize they were "tricked" by governors and large parts of the media over a "measly little cold." He's embraced chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the coronavirus despite no evidence of the anti-malaria drugs' effectiveness in fighting the disease.
As Brazil's coronavirus infections have surged to a level surpassed only by the United States, President Jair Bolsonaro, the leader of Latin America's largest country, has followed a near-identical coronavirus script to President Donald Trump.
And this is where it's got him.
Original 5/16/2020 post starts here
With upward of 800 people dying each day from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, Brazil’s death rate is now second only to that of the United States. Lax quarantine measures are leading to rising contagion as Mr. Bolsonaro urges Brazilian workers to effectively defy local lockdown orders from states and municipalities. [emphasis added]