More than 5,000 Brazilians have lost their lives to the coronavirus, which prompted a response from the country’s president that sparked an immediate backlash.
On Tuesday night Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro shrugged off the news of the fatalities. “So what?” he told reporters when asked about the record 474 deaths that day. “I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”
Bolsonaro’s response—the latest in a series of remarks belittling the pandemic—sparked immediate fury. One newspaper, the Estado de Minas, stamped the president’s words on to a black front page beside Brazil’s death toll: 5,017.
“Bolsonaro isn’t just an awful politician and a bad president, he’s a despicable human being,” tweeted Marcelo Freixo, a leftwing opponent.
“My name’s Messiah,” Bolsonaro also told reporters on Tuesday, in reference to his second name, Messias. “But I can’t work miracles.” A wave of disgust swept over social media as word of the president’s comments spread.