Jul 7, 2020 - World

Brazil's Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Andre Borges/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced Tuesday that he tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil's coronavirus outbreak is one of the largest in the world, topped only by the U.S., and Bolsonaro has long downplayed the effects of the virus, pushing businesses to reopen over the last few months in order to jumpstart the country's economy.

Bolsonaro made the announcement on television, and noted he had long said much of the population would inevitably get the virus, which he has repeatedly dismissed as a "simple flu."

  • Social distancing has steadily become less prevalent in the country, according to the influential IHME model.
  • Over 1.6 million people have contracted the disease in Brazil, and more than 65,000 have died, per Johns Hopkins data.
  • Brazil's health ministry has frequently qualified its daily coronavirus death tolls with statements indicating the fatalities did not all take place within a 24-hour period, due to delays caused by investigations into the deaths.

The big picture: Bolsonaro joins U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Monaco's Prince Albert among the world leaders known to have tested positive.

  • One leader, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, may have died of COVID-19, though the government has said only that he died of heart failure.
  • Bolsonaro said he was taking hydroxychloroquine, which the FDA believes is "unlikely to be effective" in treating COVID-19.
  • He was photographed over the weekend celebrating America's Independence Day with officials including Brazil's foreign minister and the U.S. ambassador to Brazil.

Flashback: Bolsonaro had a coronavirus scare earlier this year, when his press secretary tested positive for the disease in March — days after meeting President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Go deeper: Pandemic meets political crisis in Brazil

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