According to Correio Braziliense journalist Denise Rothenburg, the meeting in which President Jair Bolsonaro fired Luiz Henrique Mandetta from the Health Minister position was a tense one. At one point, Mr. Mandetta would have said that the president will be held accountable for all the Covid-19 deaths that will happen if Brazil loosens its social distancing measures: “You will be held responsible for the consequences, the deaths.” To which the president, according to Ms. Rothernburg, replied: “Not me, the governors will.”
Mr. Bolsonaro has been adamantly against social distancing and has urged Brazilians to get back to work. He has said that governors’ decisions to shut down non-essential activities will have catastrophic consequences — “far worse than the coronavirus would.” At this point, Mr. Bolsonaro is the sole major world leader still dismissive about the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the inauguration ceremony of newly-appointed Health Minister Nelson Teich, Mr. Bolsonaro said “history will judge” his actions during the coronavirus crisis.