The Supreme Court in Brazil has ordered an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro after he claimed COVID-19 could increase a person’s chances of contracting AIDS. The probe was ordered by Judge Alexandre de Moraes Friday.

He called on the country’s top prosecutor to get to the bottom of Bolsonaro’s claims and establish if such comments are linked to a group of his supporters being currently investigated for large-scale spreading of fake news. 

Judge de Moraes ruled that Bolsonaro was using a “modus operandi of mass dissemination schemes in social networks" fueled by his supporters, which has also led to the arrest of several of his allies including the head of the right-wing Brazilian Labor Party, Roberto Jefferson.

The group called the Office of Hate is accused of spreading misinformation all through the pandemic and had even called for a military coup. 

According to Al Jazeera, the probe is part of a pandemic inquiry raised by Brazil’s Senate wherein its investigative committee found Bolsonaro had committed nine crimes relating to his handling and response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as crimes against humanity.

During a live broadcast on Oct. 24, the leader spoke of official reports from the UK government that suggested fully vaccinated individuals “are developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome much faster than anticipated”.

Social media platforms immediately took down the videos stating these violated their rules. Bolsonaro’s official Facebook and YouTube accounts were temporarily suspended.

Bolsonaro argued he had merely quoted an article in the magazine Exame and that it was not his intention to make any assertions. The Senate investigative committee has since called for charges to be filed against the President. The leader maintains that he is guilty of “absolutely nothing”.

Meanwhile, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS said COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by health regulators to be safe for most people, including those living with the HIV virus. 

Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll is recorded to be the highest in the world at 615,000, falling right behind the United States. Bolsonaro, who claims to be unvaccinated, earlier told Brazilians to “stop whining” as he consistently pushed against vaccine mandates. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during the celebration of National Volunteer Day at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, August 26, 2021. Photo by Evaristo SA/AFP via Getty Images