More deaths than China? So what?

After reporting a further 474 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, Brazil reached 5,017 total casualties related to the pandemic, surpassing the official death toll in China. However, there is reason to doubt both of these figures: authoritarian regimes such as China tend to be opaque when it comes to alarming data, while Brazil’s actual Covid-19 death count is likely to be much greater than official numbers, due to a lack of testing. President Jair Bolsonaro, in the least considerate way possible, said: “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”

Besides ignoring the coronavirus risk for the general public, Mr. Bolsonaro has also refused to release his own Covid-19 test results. If he had in fact tested positive, he could be in deep trouble, as he took part in a number of public gatherings after his coronavirus exams, often greeting his supporters by hand. According to the president, his “past as an athlete” is one of the reasons why he isn’t infected. However, at least 23 people who were a part of the president’s entourage on a trip to the U.S. subsequently contracted the coronavirus.

The Office of the Solicitor General has appealed a decision that forced President Jair Bolsonaro to disclose his Covid-19 test results. Newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo had filed a lawsuit based on Brazil’s Access to Information Act, claiming that by withholding his results, the president is concealing information that is in the public interest. The government’s lawyers, however, argue that this information was already disclosed in a medical report issued on March 18 — even if the actual test results were never made public. Once again, he is worried about himself. 

Who would have guessed it?

While Mr. Bolsonaro shows little or no interest in people’s lives, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia is sitting on a pile of 26 impeachment requests against the president, most of them filed by former allies. Behind the scenes, Mr. Maia is also saying “so what?” to these demands. But how long will that last? 

Go deeper: