RIO DE JANEIRO — President Jair Bolsonaro disclosed Tuesday that he has the coronavirus, a development that turbocharged the debate over his cavalier handling of a pandemic that has killed more than 65,000 Brazilians.
Bolsonaro, 65, took a test Monday night after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever.
Even as several of Bolsonaro’s aides have tested positive for the virus in recent months, the president has often eschewed precautions such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Most recently, he attended a luncheon hosted Saturday by the U.S. ambassador in Brazil to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and opposed measures to stem its spread.
As Brazilians awaited the results of the president’s latest coronavirus test, messages posted on social media illustrated how polarized the country had become. Two trending hashtags on Twitter on Tuesday morning were #ForçaBolsonaro and #ForçaCorona, the first sending the president strength and the other effectively expressing hope that the president falls ill.