Rio de Janeiro, June 2 (efe-epa).- Brazil’s leader said on Tuesday that death “is everyone’s destiny” when asked what message he would send to the families of the victims of COVID-19 in the country as it registered a record daily death toll.
“I regret all the dead, but it is everyone’s destiny,” said far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro in front of supporters at Alvorada Palace, the official residence of the president in Brasilia.
The head of state was responding to a supporter who asked Bolsonaro for “a word of comfort at this time” for the families of the victims.
The statement coincided with the release of the new Ministry of Health bulletin on the epidemic, according to which Brazil registered a record 1,262 new deaths from COVID-19 in a single day on Tuesday, bringing the total number of victims to 31,199.
The death toll on Tuesday, higher than the 1,188 recorded on the most fatal day on May 21, confirmed Brazil as having the fourth-highest number of victims in the world and includes it among countries that have surpassed 30,000 deaths, along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.
According to the ministry’s bulletin, in the past 24 hours, 28,936 new cases were recorded, bringing the number of infections to 555,383, confirming Brazil as the world’s second country with the most cases after the US, and the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America.
The high numbers of cases and deaths occur at a time when several regional and municipal governments of Brazil are starting to implement gradual economic reopenings and relaxing of restrictions.
They also come as Brazil completed 18 days without a health minister after the previous two went out due to their disagreements with Bolsonaro over the pandemic.
The far-right leader is one of the most skeptical when it comes to the severity of the pandemic. Bolsonaro has described COVID-19 as a “little cold” and since the beginning of the crisis has called for the end of distancing and lockdown measures imposed by regional governments.
The head of state believes that more than half of the Brazilian population will contract the infectious disease regardless of the isolation measures adopted, so his priority is to avoid a looming historic recession that, in his opinion, will generate hunger and poverty and will cause a higher number of deaths.
On Apr. 20, when asked about the increasing number of deaths in Brazil by COVID-19 when the toll had reached 2,500, Bolsonaro said that he did not work as a gravedigger.
A week later, when questioned on the same matter as the toll reached 5,000, he said: “So what? I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do?” adding that he could not “work miracles.”
In his talk with followers on Tuesday, Bolsonaro again defended the use of chloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19 despite the fact that the efficacy of this medicine against coronavirus is not proven safe and after the World Health Organization recommended the suspension of trials worldwide of this antimalarial product.
Despite contrary recommendations in which doctors warned about the adverse effects of this medicine, such as the possibility of heart problems, Brazil, at Bolsonaro’s request, authorized the use of chloroquine to treat all patients with COVID-19, even those who are not in a serious condition. EFE-EPA