Bolsonaro’s dispute with his health minister complicates Brazil’s coronavirus response
But much of the country’s focus in recent days has been on widespread speculation that Bolsonaro is about to fire his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, after Mandetta criticized the president on a popular news show for refusing to abide by the ministry’s social distancing guidelines. If Mandetta is fired, leading members of Brazil’s coronavirus task force are expected to step down.
The resignations would cripple the task force as packed hospitals and clinics teeter on the brink of collapse. Emergency rooms in Amazonas state are running at capacity, with 95 percent of intensive care beds and ventilators occupied. Rio de Janeiro’s famed Maracana soccer stadium has been converted to a makeshift hospital to accommodate coronavirus patients. Gravediggers in the country’s largest cemeteries are working overtime to bury the dead.
In the Western Hemisphere, Brazil trails only the United States in confirmed cases of the virus. But Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the outbreak — dismissing the virus as a “little flu,” shrugging off social distancing recommendations from the World Health Organization and sharing videos calling …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]