Bolsonaro's most controversial coronavirus quotes

·2 min read
Demonstrators hold a sign reading '500 thousand lives' during a protest June 19, 2021 in Rio de Janeiro against President Jair Bolsonaro, who is widely blamed for not taking the Covid-19 pandemic more seriously

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the coronavirus pandemic, questioned measures to stop its spread, doubted the safety of vaccines and promoted unproven remedies to combat it.

With Brazil on Saturday passing the grim mark of a half million deaths from Covid-19, AFP looks back at some of the more controversial things the far-right Bolsonaro has said about the coronavirus.

- Overestimated

"In my understanding, the destructive power of this virus is overestimated. Maybe it's even being promoted for economic reasons."

(March 9, 2020, when Brazil had registered just 25 cases and no deaths)

- Hysteria

"The economy was doing well but this virus brought a certain hysteria. There are governors that, as I understand it, and I might be wrong, are making decisions that could greatly harm our economy."

(March 17, 2020, the day after Brazil's first death)

- Little flu

"For 90 percent of the population, this will be a little flu or nothing."

(March 27, 2020, with fewer than 100 deaths.)

- Already going away

"It seems this virus question is already going away."

(April 12, 2020, 1,200 deaths)

- So what?

"So what? I'm sorry. What do you want me to do? I'm Messiah (Bolsonaro's second name) but I can't do miracles."

(April 28, 2020, with almost 5,000 dead)

- Country of queers

"I'm sorry for the dead, I'm sorry. We're all going to die one day, everyone here will die. There's no point running away from it, running away from reality. You need to stop being a country of queers."

(November 10, 2020, 163,000 dead)

- Women growing beards

"If you become a crocodile, it's your problem. If you become Superman, if some women grow beards or if a man starts talking in a high-pitched voice, (the laboratory) has nothing to do with that."

(December 18, 2020, on possible vaccine secondary effects, with 185,000 dead)

- Harmful masks

"There are some studies coming out ... that say masks are harmful for children, causing irritability, headache, concentration difficulties, a reduction in feelings of happiness, a refusal to go to school or daycare, dejection, a reduced ability to learn, vertigo, tiredness."

(February 25, 2021, 250,000 dead)

- Political pandemic

"We're going through a pandemic that, partly, is being used politically not to defeat a virus but to try to overthrow a president."

(April 7, 2021, 340,000 dead)

- Hydroxychloroquine

"I caught the virus and took hydroxychloroquine. Maybe I'm the only head of state who looked for that remedy... I'm not going to back down, I'm stubborn, I'm persistent."

(June 11, 2021, 484,000 dead)

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