The governor of Sao Paulo state has called Jair Bolsonaro a “psychopathic leader,” in a sharp rebuke over the Brazilian President’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are in one of those tragic moments in history when millions of people pay a high price for having an unprepared and psychopathic leader in charge of a nation,” Joao Doria said in an interview with CNN on Monday.
Doria said much of the deaths from the virus in Brazil could have been avoided if Bolsonaro had “acted with the responsibility that the position gives him.”
He added that Bolsonaro made “unbelievable mistakes, the biggest one was having a political dispute with the governors who are trying to protect the population.”
Bolsonaro has repeatedly opposed lockdowns and restrictive measures and has criticized governors and mayors for implementing them.
The governor added that he was facing the biggest challenge of his life as governor of Brazil’s largest state, and that he had to restructure the healthcare system in “record time” and look for ways to mitigate the economic crisis that hit the country during the pandemic.
Doria also spoke about the grave state of hospitals and ICUs in Sao Paulo, saying they had already tripled the number of ICU beds and this month would open 12 field hospitals in the state.
The Covid-19 crisis in Brazil has never been worse.
Nearly every Brazilian state has an ICU occupancy of 80% or higher, according to a recent CNN analysis of state data. As of Friday, 16 of 26 states were at or above 90%, meaning those health systems have collapsed or are at imminent risk of doing so.
And as of Friday, less than 10 million people in the country of about 220 million had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to federal health data. Only 1.57% of the population had been fully vaccinated.
That is the result of a slow rollout program that has been plagued by delays. During the announcement of its distribution plan in early February, the government promised some 46 million vaccine doses would be available in March. It’s been repeatedly forced to lower that number, and now only 26 million doses are estimated to be available by month’s end.
Doria said of 90% of the vaccines in Brazil were produced by the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo – linked to the Sao Paulo government – and that by the end of August they will have made 100 million vaccines available across the country.
“It is still not enough,” he said, adding that the federal government in March started buying vaccines while Sao Paulo state began in April of last year.
CNN’s Matt Rivers contributed to this report.