Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro is one of those leaders who famously belittled COVID-19.
Since the surge of the coronavirus disease in his home nation, the controversial leader has refused to wear a mask. Multiple news outlets also reported how they often see him in public, shaking hands with his supporters and mingling with them as if a pandemic is not happening.
In March 2020, he also claimed that he would not feel anything if he catches COVID-19 since his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus and its symptoms. The far-right president even downplayed the virus before adding that the disease would be nothing but a "little flu" to him.
Furthermore, he repeatedly put Brazil's economy first over the public's health, as he said that there is no way to prevent over 70 percent of the population from contracting the disease. So instead of prolonging the lockdown period, Bolsonaro explained that shutting down the economic activities would cause more hardship to people.
Because of this, Maurício Santoro -- a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro -- described him as "the democratic leader who has most denied the seriousness of this pandemic."
"Him getting infected is a blow to his credibility. It will be seen as another example of the failure of his coronavirus response," Santoro previously warned.
However, not long after he shrugged the existence of the disease, Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19, per Business Mirror.
On Tuesday, the president revealed that he contracted the disease after downplaying its severity in Brazil.
"You can't just talk about the consequences of the virus that you have to worry about. Life goes on. Brazil needs to produce. You need to get the economy in gear," he said while wearing a mask.
The 65-year-old populist also disclosed that he underwent a lung X-ray on Monday after experiencing fever, muscle aches and malaise.
On Tuesday, his fever subsided, and he thanked hydroxychloroquine for improving his condition. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug that he, like President Donald Trump, has been promoting. However, no clinical trial has proven its effectiveness.
"I'm, well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can't due to medical recommendations," he went on, ensuring that he still feels fine. "I thought I had it before, given my very dynamic activity. I'm president and on the combat lines. I like to be in the middle of the people."
Ever since the public learned about his diagnosis, Brazil's benchmark Ibovespa stock index fell and closed 1.2 percent down on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization's emergencies chief, wished the president a speedy recovery. He added that his infection brought the reality of COVID-19, saying that it does not distinguish between "prince or pauper."
Aside from Bolsonaro, other world leaders also suffered from COVID-19, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and President Juan Orlando Hernández.
As of writing, more than 65,000 Brazilians have succumbed from COVID-19 and over 1.5 million have been infected.