Reuters has an amusing account of Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s war against the global public health dictatorship. The former Army captain rejected coronavirus hysteria and essentially staged a military takeover of his Brazil’s Health Ministry, thereby avoiding the weird fate of locked-down countries such as the US and Britain:
In mid-March, Brazil took what seemed to be a forceful early strike against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Health Ministry mandated that cruises be canceled. It advised local authorities to scrap large-scale events. And it urged travelers arriving from abroad to go into isolation for a week. Although Brazil had yet to report a single death from COVID-19, public health officials appeared to be getting out in front of the virus. They acted on March 13, just two days after the World Health Organization called the disease a pandemic.
Less than 24 hours later, the ministry watered down its own advice, citing “criticism and suggestions” it had received from local communities.
In fact, four people familiar with the incident told Reuters, the change came after intervention from the chief of staff’s office for Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. […]
The about-face, given scant attention at the time, marked a turning point in the federal government’s handling of the crisis, according to the four people. Behind the scenes, they said, power was shifting from the Health Ministry, the traditional leader on public health matters, to the office of the president’s chief of staff, known as Casa Civil, led by Walter Souza Braga Netto, an Army general. […]
Brazil now has the world’s second-worst outbreak behind the United States, with more than 374,000 confirmed cases. More than 23,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19.
“So what?” Bolsonaro said recently when asked by reporters about Brazil’s mounting fatalities. “What do you want me to do?”
Cabinet members tried numerous times to persuade Bolsonaro to endorse a nationwide lockdown, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions. Bolsonaro refused, the person said, believing the virus would soon pass and that health officials were exaggerating the need for physical distancing that had proved effective in other parts of the world.
Note: physical distancing has not “proven” effective in other parts of the world. There is no proof of this whatsoever.
“The masses aren’t able to stay at home because the fridge is empty,” Bolsonaro said to the media on April 20 outside his official residence in Brasília.