Often described by President Jair Bolsonaro as an example of the dangers of left-wing politics, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis might be more similar to his own than the Brazilian president might think. Yesterday, Mr. Maduro took over Twitter to announce Venezuela was expanding the production of chloroquine, which he labeled as an “effective drug in the treatment of Covid-19.”
Similarly, Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly defended the use of chloroquine. This morning, the president announced he is expanding its usage to include coronavirus patients with mild cases — a decision that might have contributed to the resignation of outgoing Health Minister Nelson Teich. Back in March, the Brazilian president had already stated that the army would ramp up chloroquine production, which he described as a “possible cure” for Covid-19.
Felicito al personal científico de la salud de nuestro país, quienes trabajan con buena fe y amor para proteger la salud del pueblo. Con ellos avanzamos en la producción de Cloroquina Difosfato, fármaco efectivo para el tratamiento contra el Covid-19. ¡Sí Se Puede Venezuela! pic.twitter.com/Tsd9ZHbgau— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) May 15, 2020
The effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug in the treatment of Covid-19, however, is not confirmed. In fact, in Brazil and abroad, studies have shown that high dosages of chloroquine might, in fact, lead to death.As of this Friday, Venezuela had reported 455 Covid-19 cases and 10 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University — although scientists estimate that underreporting in the country could be as high as 95 percent.