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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

Brazil has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, behind the US

Emergency Aid Extension ceremony in Brasilia
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro at the Planalto Palace in Brasília, Brazil, on June 30, 2020. 
Photo by Andre Borges/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced today. He is 65 years old. Over the weekend, he attended a US Independence Day event with US Ambassador Todd Chapman. Neither Bolsonaro nor Chapman wore a mask at the event.

Like US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has downplayed the risks and extent of the COIVD-19 pandemic and said that the danger was over-exaggerated by the media. Brazil now has the second-worst outbreak in the world, behind the United States. To date, there have been more than 1.6 million cases in the country and more than 65,000 people have died of the disease. Stores and businesses are fully reopened in cities around the country, and masks aren’t required.

CNN Brasil reported Monday that Bolsonaro had a fever, which his office denied, though he told supporters today that he had a fever, fatigue, and muscle pain before his test. He said a scan of his lungs showed they were “clean.”

Bolsonaro said he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, even though clinical trials show that the drug does not work for patients with COVID-19. Like Trump, he’s promoted the drug as a cure despite the lack of evidence.

Other world leaders, including Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernández and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have also contracted the virus.

Bolsonaro was tested for COVID-19 back in March after his aide tested positive for the virus. He’d just attended a dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

At the time of publication, there are more than 11.6 million confirmed cases of the disease worldwide, and over 539,000 people have died.