Enlarge /. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is giving thumbs up to supporters of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on July 20, 2020 amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP) (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP via Getty Images)
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Two other senior government officials in Brazil have tested positive for COVID-19 as the country's epidemic has passed the grim milestone of 80,000 deaths – a number that is second only to the US deaths.
Earlier this month, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced that he had tested positive for the novel corona virus. Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the threat of COVID-19, calling it "little flu," and calling on local leaders to lift restrictions to reduce the spread of the disease. Before he tested positive, Bolsonaro had been seen in public appearances amid crowds of people who sometimes shook hands and did not wear a mask.
Now Minister of Citizenship Onyx Lorenzoni, a close ally of Bolsonaro, and Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro have announced on social media that they have also tested positive. Brazilian national security advisor Augusto Heleno and Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque had previously reported positive tests, according to the NPR.
The spread of the novel corona virus among high-ranking officials is not a good sign for the rest of the country, which is still fighting the pandemic. Brazil has recorded more than 2.1 million cases – the second highest number in the world after the United States – in addition to the more than 80,000 deaths. Although the daily number of new cases seems to have reached a plateau in recent days, it is unclear whether the country can keep the pandemic under control.
The United States and Brazil are among the least successful countries in the world when it comes to containing the pandemic virus. However, there is growing concern that India could soon reach its ranks if the cases continue to rise. India surpassed a million cases last week, and experts believe it is months from its peak.