SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that he was “very well” after contracting the coronavirus, and credited an unproven drug for its mild symptoms.
Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, joining a small list of world leaders who have contracted the disease. But the diagnosis doesn’t seem to have done much to change the view of the 65-year-old former army captain about the illness, which he once called “the flu.”
Bolsonaro said on Tuesday evening that he was already feeling much better taking what he described as his third dose of hydroxychloroquine.
There is little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the antimalarial to treat COVID-19, but Bolsonaro, like his American counterpart Donald Trump, has announced it as a potential remedy.
“For those who support hydroxychloroquine but do not present alternatives, I hate to say that I am doing very well and, thank God, I will live much longer,” Bolsonaro wrote in a Twitter article on Wednesday.
The president’s public agenda showed four videoconferences with senior government officials, including the Minister of Defense, Fernando Azevedo.
With 1.6 million confirmed cases, Brazil is experiencing the worst epidemic of coronavirus outside the United States. The virus has killed more than 66,000 people in the largest country in Latin America.
Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis drew criticism from public health experts as he fought state and city efforts to impose social distancing, arguing that the economic damage would be more serious than the disease itself.
He fired two ministers of health during the pandemic, both trained doctors, and replaced them with an acting general.