As the coronavirus infections in the country continue to spike, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro not only cast doubt on Sao Paulo’s death toll from the COVID-19 infections but also accused the state governor of manipulating the numbers for political ends, without giving evidence for his claims. Moreover, in a televised interview on March 27, Bolsonaro said: “I’m sorry, some people will die”. Further acknowledging the increasing fatalities of the deadly coronavirus, he gave a reference to a car factory which can not stop its production due to the deaths due to car accidents.
“I’m sorry, some people will die, they will die, that’s life,” Bolsonaro said, “You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths.”
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s accusation on the governors were the latest broadside in an ugly battle with Brazil’s governors who have targetted the Brazilian President’s approach towards the coronavirus outbreak and prioritising the economy over measures over social distancing to combat the unprecedented drastic spread of COVID-19. Following the advice the public health experts, the vast majority of Brazil’s 26 governors banned non-essential commercial activities and public services to contain the coronavirus in their respective states.
Brazilian President also said that state of Sao Paulo, the economic powerhouse of the country, the death toll seemed “too large” as the state has confirmed the greatest number of coronavirus cases and deaths so far. Out of the country’s total infections 3,904, at least 1,223 are from Sao Paulo while 68 people died in the state and nation’s death toll reached 114.
“We need to look at what is happening there, this cannot be a numbers game to favour political interests,” Bolsonaro said.
Earlier on that day, Sao Paulo’s governor Joao Doria, a former ally of Brazilian President, accused Bolsonaro of promoting “disinformation” by launching a television advertisement campaign criticising the restrictions and featuring the slogan “#BrazilCannotStop”. Moreover, the slogan used by Bolsonaro is similar to the campaign in Milan before Italy emerged as one of the new hotspots of coronavirus infections.