President Jair Bolsonaro warned this week that COVID-19 is going nowhere and urged local leaders to abandon strict social distancing measures and lockdowns, arguing that Brazil's people need to start learning how to live with the virus, according to Bloomberg.
"This issue of Covid will continue for life," Bolsonaro said during a weekly webcast on social media, adding that social distancing measures will "lead nowhere."
Bolsonaro, 65, has already been infected with the virus and has held a pretty tough stance against social distancing.
When it comes to vaccines, the Brazilian president, a longtime China skeptic, thanked Beijing earlier this week for approving Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine for export. Bolsonaro said he would not take any COVID-19 shot.
Critics have said Bolsonaro's laissez-faire approach to managing the crisis has resulted in a massive death toll, second to the US. Hospitals are overrun with virus patients, which has pressured the president's popularity in recent months.
A slow rollout has also pressured Bolsonaro's popularity, with the country only receiving two million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.
Meanwhile, Brazil's massive fiscal stimulus to support the economy from cratering even further has reached its limits, hence why Bolsonaro is calling for some sense of normalcy. At the same time, people learn to live with the virus.
At this point, who knows how long the virus will be sticking around, but in Bolsonaro's defense, there's mounting evidence that continues to how mandatory stay-at-home orders issued by the government don't work.
However, maybe Bolsonaro is right by telling his fellow compatriots to go out there and live their lives. After all, a total implosion of the. Brazilian economy wouldn't exactly be great for the people's health.