Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro evoked widespread fury after displaying visible indifference to the country’s growing death toll from the pandemic. Brazil currently stands at 5,017 deaths—which is higher than that of China.

But, Bolsonaro seemed unperturbed by the gnawing numbers. Instead, on Tuesday night, he shrugged it off with a rather obscure response: “I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” he responded to a reporter, giving his views about the 474 COVID-19 deaths recorded on that day. And, that’s not all. Bolsonaro thumbed his nose at the ongoing crisis through a series of insensitive comments that followed. “My name’s Messiah,” said Bolsonaro in reference to his second name, Messias. “But I can’t work miracles,” he added

Bolsonaro, who has come under fire for his ineptitude in the management of the coronavirus outbreak, sparked a wave of disgust across social media platforms with several artistes, leaders, and journalists condemning the president’s passiveness during challenging times like these.

On Feb. 26, when Brazil recorded its first coronavirus case, Bolsonaro seemed far from concerned. The leader continued to downplay the severity of the pandemic, went against the medical advice of his own health minister, and urged Brazilians to step out of their homes and get going.

“A sociopath,” tweeted the musician Nando Moura. “What a tragedy,” wrote the journalist Sônia Bridi. Thinking along similar lines, Mariliz Pereria Jorge, a scriptwriter, and commentator tweeted, “It’s a mockery. An insult. It is intolerable.”

The past couple of weeks have been unusually uneasy for the Brazilian government after a series of unforeseen occurrences unfolded: Bolsonaro’s justice minister Sergio Moro stepped down from his responsibilities and hinted at how there was more than what meets the eye, behind the move. On April 16, Bolsonaro sacked his health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta after Mandetta spoke his mind and openly disagreed with Bolsonaro’s perspectives on the pandemic.

Despite Bolsonaro being severely criticized for his muddled approach; his politician son Carlos Bolsonaro seemed to pass on the blame to media. Carlos accused liberal journalists of distorting his father’s views in a bid to sensationalize the report by tarnishing the president’s repute.

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

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