Bolsonaro’s words encouraging Brazilians to ignore social isolation

While state governors control confinement rules, a study from the University of Cambridge shows President Bolsonaro's anti-isolation message is getting through to the population

social isolation bolsonaro
No masks, no distancing: Bolsonaro supporters outside of the presidential palace. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been a global outlier among major world leaders by downplaying the severity of the disease, famously referring to it as a “little flu.” While his opposition to social distancing has caused no concrete change to public policy around the country — state governors are in charge of these decisions within their own territorial lines and all have employed some form of social distancing measures — the fear among health experts is that the president’s message may encourage citizens to disobey confinement rules.

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