Brazil feels the consequences of pandemic populism

Published in Open Democracy

By Robert Muggah

The only surprise about Jair Bolsonaro’s diagnosis for COVID-19 was that it took him so long to test positive. For months, the Brazilian president flouted health precautions, urging his compatriots to get back to work instead. Despite the country’s skyrocketing caseload of infections and fatalities, Bolsonaro shunned masks, joined public rallies of his supporters, denied evidence that the virus poses a threat, and championed unproven remedies on live television. Instead of urging citizens to take care or expressing his sympathy about the outrageous death toll, he spewed more misinformation about healthy people being safe from the virus.

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