Brazil president embraces unproven ‘cure’ as pandemic surges
By Ernesto Londoño and Mariana Simoes
The coronavirus was taking root in Latin America when President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil startled the medical community with a claim: A miracle drug was on hand.
“God is Brazilian, the cure is right here!” the president exclaimed in late March to a throng of supporters. “Chloroquine is working everywhere.”
Since then, the virus has ripped through Brazil. More than 41,000 people have died — Brazil has now passed Britain and has recorded more fatalities than any country other than the United States — and the daily death toll is now the highest in the world, bucking the downward trend that is allowing other major economies to reopen.
Experts point to Bolsonaro’s rejection of the emerging scientific consensus on how to fight the pandemic — including his promotion of unproven remedies such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — as one of the factors that helped tilt the country into its current health crisis.