Has Bolsonaro caught Covid-19?

. Jul 07, 2020
With flu-like symptoms, Bolsonaro awaits Covid-19 test result President Jair Bolsonaro, with First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

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President Jair Bolsonaro could have Covid-19, a disease he has belittled as a “little flu.” Plus, trends and numbers of Covid-19 in Brazil. And federal prosecutors move against Brazil’s Environment Minister.

With flu-like symptoms, Bolsonaro awaits Covid-19 test result

President Jair Bolsonaro, one of the world’s biggest Covid-19 deniers,

could be infected with the coronavirus. He has reportedly felt discomfort since the weekend, and on Monday had a mild fever and lower-than-normal blood saturation. He went to the hospital to undergo an X-ray on his lungs —&nbsp;which he claims are &#8220;clean&#8221; — and took a coronavirus test, for which the results are expected around noon, Brasília time.</p> <ul><li>In an official statement, the government said Mr. Bolsonaro &#8220;is in a good state and is staying home.&#8221;</li><li>The president has reportedly begun taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. He has touted the former as a &#8220;possible cure&#8221; for Covid-19, despite a lack of evidence to support the claim.</li></ul> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p><em><strong>UPDATE: </strong></em>President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed he has <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/07/07/bolsonaro-tests-positive-for-the-coronavirus/">tested positive for Covid-19</a>. He told reporters he began feeling ill on Sunday and decided to go to the hospital on Monday after feeling flu symptoms — fever, body ache, and &#8220;indisposition.&#8221;</p></blockquote> <p><strong>Contact tracing.</strong> On Saturday, Mr. Bolsonaro met with U.S. Ambassador Todd Chapman for <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2020/06/03/brazil-foreign-minister-ernesto-araujo-president-bolsonaro/">July 4</a> celebrations — five cabinet members and Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro attended the luncheon. All authorities had close contact with each other and no one used a facemask. The U.S. Embassy <a href="https://twitter.com/EmbaixadaEUA/status/1280315993844322305">said</a> Mr. Chapman had no symptoms but will undergo testing.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center"><p lang="pt" dir="ltr">Na Embaixada dos EUA, celebrando o 4 de julho, dia da independência americana. <a href="https://t.co/CqtgUNxiSL">pic.twitter.com/CqtgUNxiSL</a></p>— Ernesto Araújo (@ernestofaraujo) <a href="https://twitter.com/ernestofaraujo/status/1279475037574176768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 4, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <ul><li>Also on Saturday, the president traveled to Santa Catarina with Regional Development Minister Rogério Marinho to fly over areas damaged by a cyclone. Mr. Marinho also took a coronavirus test.</li><li>On Monday, Mr. Bolsonaro met with Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and Chief of Staff Walter Braga Netto.</li></ul> <p><strong>Schedule.</strong> The presidential schedule is suspended until his condition improves. Mr. Bolsonaro had planned a trip to Bahia, part of his newly-launched strategy to <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2020/07/05/bolsonaro-wants-to-win-over-brazil-northeast-region/">improve his popularity in the Northeast</a>, Brazil&#8217;s poorest region — and also where he polls the worst.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Coronavirus dashboard</h2> <ul><li><strong>By the numbers. </strong>1,623,284 cases; 65,487 deaths.</li><li><strong>Who is dying in Brazil? </strong>For socioeconomic and sociodemographic reasons, the coronavirus has been deadlier among specific groups. The typical victim, in Brazil, is: poor, young, male, and multiracial.</li><li><strong>Trend.</strong> While cases continue to rise, official death counts appear to be reaching a plateau. That could be partially explained by the fact that, earlier in the outbreak, people waited for the symptoms to get too severe before going to the hospital, which has now changed. However, Brazil&#8217;s massive underreporting and lack of consistent testing data doesn&#8217;t allow authorities to be that optimistic. Maybe we&#8217;re simply missing what is really going on.</li></ul> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641109" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/2641109/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641192" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/2641192/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3103268" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/3103268/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3098526" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/3098526/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2><strong>Prosecutors want the Environment Minister out. Now</strong></h2> <p>Twelve federal prosecutors have filed a case of misconduct in office against Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, requesting an urgent injunction to remove him from his position — as well as stripping him of public office, suspending his political rights, issuing him with a fine, and including his name on a &#8220;blacklist&#8221; of people and firms which cannot be awarded government contracts.</p> <ul><li>In the <a href="http://www.mpf.mp.br/df/sala-de-imprensa/docs/aia-salles-1">lawsuit</a>, prosecutors say Mr. Salles is &#8220;directly responsible for the dismantling of Brazil&#8217;s environmental protection system, which has caused a rise in deforestation, wildfires, illegal mining sites, and land-grabbing.&#8221;</li><li>&#8220;It is possible to identify a demeanor that follows, without any possible justification, a logic frontally opposed to what [the Environment Ministry] should stand for.&#8221;</li></ul> <p><strong>Context.</strong> In a now-infamous <a href="https://brazilian.report/environment/2020/05/28/environment-minister-really-running-cattle-herd-through-amazon/">April 22 cabinet meeting</a> which was recorded and made public, Mr. Salles spoke of taking advantage of the press’ undivided attention on the Covid-19 pandemic to “run the cattle herd” through the Amazon, “changing all of the rules and simplifying standards.”</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Once again, accountability institutions are confronting the Bolsonaro administration, after playing the role of passive bystanders in 2019. While the lawsuit may amount to nothing, it is a sign of the president&#8217;s political isolation.</p> <p><strong>Investments.</strong> Last month, a group of global investors controlling USD 3.7 trillion in assets warned Brazil that they could pull their money from the country if the government fails to tame deforestation.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>What else you need to know today</h2> <ul><li><strong>Privatizations.</strong> Economy Minister Paulo Guedes promised four &#8220;major privatizations&#8221; for the next 90 days. His words, however, must be taken with a pinch of salt, considering: (1) the government did not manage one single <a href="https://brazilian.report/business/2018/11/09/brazil-privatization-austerity/">privatization</a> in 2019, and the pandemic has reduced the appetite for investments; (2) Mr. Guedes cannot simply sell off a public company&nbsp;—&nbsp;Congress must grant him that power; (3) last week, the Senate president accused the government of trying to <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2020/07/03/brazil-to-have-first-5g-network-before-delayed-auction/">bypass lawmakers</a> and surreptitiously privatize Petrobras through corporate structuration maneuvers —&nbsp;showing that the relation between the branches of power is not as smooth as the government would like.</li><li><strong>Aviation.</strong> Once the country&#8217;s <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2019/04/05/the-future-of-avianca-airlines-in-brazil/">fourth-largest airline</a>, Avianca Brasil has filed for bankruptcy. With debts amounting to BRL 2.7 billion, the company was under court-supervised reorganization since December 2018 and had not flown a single plane since May last year. Other major players could follow suit due to the pandemic — which grounded most planes in 2020. Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings, Brazilian-Chilean Latam, and Aeromexico have all filed for <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/07/01/aeromexico-files-for-chapter-11-bankruptcy-protection/">Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection</a> recently.</li><li><strong>Emergency aid.</strong> Around 400,000 will receive their first installment of the BRL 600 (USD 112) coronavirus emergency salary today. Of the 109 million people who applied for the aid, 1.4 million are still awaiting analysis. The program has benefited 73 percent of low-income households in Brazil and was key to keeping millions of people from falling below the poverty line. It has also boosted Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2020/05/20/emergency-salary-is-giving-jair-bolsonaro-extended-life/">approval ratings among poorer voters</a>.</li><li><strong>Mining.</strong> Brazilian mining giant Vale raised USD 1.5 billion with securities in dollars due in 2030, with bonuses significantly below the initial price bracket due to intense demand. For analysts, the deal shows that there is a favorable window for Latin American companies to raise money with foreign investors —&nbsp;as long as they have quality credit standings.

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