The Guardian view on Covid-19 and cults of strength: the weakest response | Editorial
Trump, Bolsonaro and Putin have taken a cynical political gamble with the lives of citizens
Even leaders who thrive by bullying people have realised that they can’t bully a pandemic. But nor does caution fit easily with their macho political image. Their temptation has been to let it run its course instead. Now the facts are catching up with them.
The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has repeatedly dismissed the risks from coronavirus, defied his own government’s advice by meeting crowds of supporters, and pushed states to reopen beauty parlours as the death toll climbed. This week it passed 25,000, and a study suggested it could hit 125,000 by early August. Brazil ranks second in the world for recorded cases – all the more shocking given its strong performance in the previous HIV and Zika virus health crises.