Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro believes that if the novel coronavirus doesn’t clearly wipe people off the face of the earth; joblessness and hunger stemming from protracted lockdowns certainly will.

“Without salaries and jobs, people die,” said Bolsonaro on Saturday, while opining about the strict restrictions and forced curfews imposed by some states and municipalities. “Lockdown kills,” he added, while addressing his supporters from a distance at the grounds of his official residence the Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro, who has publicly thumbed his nose at health warnings and lockdown exercises, was tested positive on July 7, upon taking his fourth test continues to advocate the benefits of the scientifically unbacked drug, hydroxychloroquine.

“I am living proof (that the drug works),” said Bolsonaro. The president reportedly continues to take the medication despite being tested positive, along with an anti-parasite drug. The president however is highly optimistic and believes that he is already feeling much better after taking the necessary precautions and the regular consumption of the anti-malarial drug.

Bolsonaro is allegedly following in on the footsteps of U.S. President Donald Trump as far as propagating the benefits of hydroxychloroquine is concerned. The two leaders have amassed severe criticism for their stance, as experts are of the opinion that the drug may pose adverse effects -- especially to the heart.

Bolsonaro’s rebellious ways in the face of a global health crisis -- downplaying the severity of the pandemic, instigating people to go out and flout lockdown rules, his inflammatory comments on COVID deaths  -- will remain etched in the minds of the people. So much so, many of Bolsonaro’s critics hailed his ruling party as the “government of death” and called for the president’s impeachment.

Brazil currently stands at the second spot among the countries to be worst-affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The health ministry’s stats on Saturday revealed that the country logged in 28,532 new confirmed cases and 921 new deaths.

Thus, the total number of cases in Brazil has now risen to 2,074,860 with the fatalities totaling to 78,772.

Bolsonaro, 65, falls in the high-risk group among those who’ve contracted the virus. His wife Michelle Bolsonaro, 38, and their daughters have so far tested negative.

Jair Bolsonaro Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, attends an interview for Correio Brazilianse newspaper in Brasilia, June 6, 2018. Getty Images/ EVARISTO SA