Bolsonaro’s 11-word 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.
A wave of disgust swept over social media as word of the president’s comments spread. “A sociopath,” tweeted the musician Nando Moura. “What a tragedy,” wrote the journalist Sônia Bridi. “It’s a mockery. An insult. It is intolerable,” tweeted Mariliz Pereira Jorge, a scriptwriter and commentator.