The number of confirmed deaths from coronavirus in Brazil surpassed 5,000, according to the latest numbers released by the country’s health ministry Tuesday.
President Jair Bolsonaro was questioned by reporters about the spike in the death toll during a late night press gaggle outside the presidential residence in Brasilia Tuesday.
Bolsonaro responded, "So what? I'm sorry, but what do you want me to do?" He added that even though his middle name is “Messias,” which translates to Messiah in English, he’s not “a miracle worker.”
He later walked back the comments during the same press conference, saying “I’m sorry for the situation we are currently living with due to the virus. We express our solidarity to those who have lost loved ones, many of whom were elderly. But that’s life, it could be me tomorrow.”
Bolsonaro has dismissed the threats of the pandemic, calling it a “little flu” and defying stay-at-home orders imposed by governors by participating in rallies with supporters and hugging people in local supermarkets and bakeries.
Support for Bolsonaro has eroded amid the pandemic, but according to a poll conducted by Datafolha, 33% of Brazilians still think he is doing a "good job," compared with 38% who think he is doing a "terrible job" or 26% who think his performance is average.