Since the beginning of Brazil’s Covid-19 epidemic, President Jair Bolsonaro has been dismissive of the virus in a way that is unrivaled among global leaders. Calling the disease a “little flu” and “the sniffles,” he has influenced many of his supporters to take an equally skeptical stance towards the virus that has so far claimed over 40,000 lives. Mr. Bolsonaro has openly encouraged his followers to break with social isolation rules on a number of occasions, be it to go back to work, join anti-democratic street protests, or — in his latest call for social disobedience — break into Covid-19 field hospitals and “film empty beds.” Beyond a lack of respect for the tens of thousands of people who have died from the disease, his encouragement has actively pushed his supporters to expose themselves to contamination.
In one of his weekly live broadcasts on Facebook, President Bolsonaro told his audience: “if there is a field hospital or public hospital near you, find a way to get in there and film it. Lots of people are doing this and more need to do it to show whether the beds are in use or not.”