For Bolsonaro, it’s a fight against humiliation
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Anyone who hopes that Brazil’s president or his policy will change after his Covid 19 infection does not know Jair Bolsonaro. During his statement he even takes off his mask. The next battle has already started.
AEven on the day Jair Bolsonaro had to deliver the humiliating news, Brazil’s right-wing populist president downplayed the danger. “Compared to yesterday, I’m doing optimally,” said Bolsonaro on Tuesday in a joint interview with the TV channels CNN Brasil, Record and TV Brasil.
This leads to bizarre scenes, neither reporter nor president keep their distance. None of the journalists has a microphone bar with them that would make a remote interview possible. And in the end Bolsonaro even takes a few steps back, takes off the mask and announces: “Look me in the face, I’m fine.”
The fact that he got infected shows that he is just like everyone else, said Bolsonaro. At the same time, the government issued an official statement: Bolsonaros health was good. He took the test after symptoms such as mild fever and cough appeared, Bolsonaro explained. The most important message from Brasilia that the Bolsonaro camp wanted to spread that day was: Bolsonaro can continue to rule, everything goes as usual, everything is not so bad.
Jair Bolsonaro and his family clan are wrong about anyone who believes that Brazil’s president or his policy will change after his Covid 19 infection, which was announced on Tuesday. As soon as the news of the Covid 19 infection was brought across, the 65-year-old plunged into the next battle with conventional medicine, virology and science.
He would be treated with hydroxychloroquine. The antimalarial drug whose clinical trials for the treatment of coronavirus infection have been suspended due to safety concerns and which Bolsonaro and temporarily its great role model Donald Trump in the United States consider to be the solution to the fight against coronavirus. The fact that he was already feeling better than the day before proved that the drug was working, Bolsonaro said.
Bolsonaro was already suffering from health problems
If this isn’t just lip service, it’s a dangerous dance on a tightrope. Because Bolsonaro has suffered from a health attack since a knife attack by an apparently mentally confused person with contacts in the left camp in the 2018 election campaign. And he has a difficult pre-existing condition: pneumonia after an operation.
Bolsonaro apparently wants to prove that his path is the right one. No matter what it costs. This has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, which he initially played down as a “flu”, but which is now raging all over the country and has already cost the lives of over 65,000 people. Over 1.6 million people are considered infected. Quite a few experts believe that the true number of infections is much higher because fewer are tested.
Nevertheless, Bolsonaro defended himself against the obligation to wear a mask, demanded that business life be reopened early in view of the economic damage, and thus opposed many governors and mayors. In addition, Bolsonaro kept mingling with the people, causing large crowds.
It’s a humiliation for Bolsonaro
The infection is therefore also a small humiliation for the President and the Bolsonaro camp. Even for his fanatical supporters, it is now becoming increasingly difficult to defend their president’s controversial corona policy if his advice does not even seem to benefit him.
This is one of the reasons why Bolsonaro apparently relies on hydroxychloroquine. If he is healed in a few days or weeks, he will proudly refer to the effect of the drug he predicted. If this strategy goes wrong, the life of the president is at stake. Always provided that the published diagnoses and test results as well as treatment therapies are true and are not fiction.
A few months after a visit to Donald Trump, some Brazilian media suggested that Bolsonaro, like many other members of his delegation, had contracted the corona virus. There was speculation to the point that Bolsonaro falsified the test result in March to hide an infection.
If these speculations, which were never really proven, were true, Bolsonaro would obviously have been infected a second time or the media speculations were wrong. Corona patient Bolsonaro has long been about more than just the health of an older man. It is about which interpretation of the pandemic prevails in Brazilian society. And it’s about survival: physically and politically.