Six months into his role as Brazil's minister of health, Dr. Marcelo Queiroga is experiencing his lowest point in the federal government. He is still in quarantine in New York due to testing positive for Covid.
The minister has pleaded to President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) to remain in the position, even though he clashes with technicians from the ministry, and his relationship with the managers of the Unified Health System has deteriorated. His support for bolsonarism has overshadowed advances in the vaccination campaign and the drop in hospitalizations in the pandemic.
Chosen to take over the Health ministry at the height of the health crisis and replace General Eduardo Pazuello, Queiroga was introduced as a technician. He started his position defending masks and vaccines, but began to focus efforts on agendas sensitive to bolsonarism.
To please the president, the doctor authorized studies on stopping the use of masks, names vetoed by government supporters were removed from the ministry, and he used weak arguments when trying to prevent the vaccination of adolescents without comorbidities. Queiroga also made obscene gestures and raised his middle fingers on Monday (20), in the United States, to protesters against Bolsonaro.
The following day, he received a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 embarrassing the Brazilian delegation.
The doctor also avoided questioning Bolsonaro's defense about the use of drugs that are not effective for Covid, such as chloroquine, and maintained defenders of this treatment in his ministry.
Despite his affection for the president, the minister failed to appoint his own commanders and accepted impositions from Bolsonaro. Queiroga has joined the Senate Covid Investigation list and is expected to testify before the Senate when he leaves quarantine.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon