18 percent of Brazilians believe chloroquine cures Covid-19

hydroxychloroquine bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro with hydroxychloroquine. Photo: Mateus Bonomi/AGIF

Almost one in five Brazilian citizens believes that hydroxychloroquine — an antimalarial drug with no proven efficacy against the coronavirus — is the cure for Covid-19. The number was put out by Marcos Calliari, head of polling institute Ipsos Brazil. According to him, Brazil has the second-highest rate of believers among 16 surveyed countries, behind India, where 37 percent trust in chloroquine.

The same survey also shows that 7 percent believe in the healing powers of garlic against the deadly virus.

Hydroxychloroquine has become one of the many hot-button pandemic issues in Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro has been the drug’s staunchest defender, saying that “while there is no proof it works, there is also no proof it doesn’t.” After announcing he caught the coronavirus, Mr. Bolsonaro himself has insisted he is taking the medicine — and that it has helped him cope with the disease. Just last weekend, he met with supporters in front of his official residence and hoisted a box of the medication aloft like a trophy — while the crowd chanted: “chloroquine, chloroquine.”

Mr. Calliari emphasized that the Brazilian population is among the world’s most misinformed, next to Mexico’s and India’s.

Brazil is currently hosting tests for two of the frontrunning potential Covid-19 vaccines, as we explained in today’s Daily Briefing (for premium subscribers).

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