Brazil’s Senate moves ahead with an investigation into Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 response.

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The Brazilian Senate opened an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday.

A congressional investigation, abbreviated as a CPI in Portuguese, will result in a variety of activities, including the referral of alleged misconduct to law enforcement. In reality, the investigation is a political headache for Bolsonaro, who is still facing record levels of disapproval in the midst of Brazil’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Senate Majority Leader Rodrigo Pacheco said on Tuesday that a congressional investigation into the federal response to the pandemic will be merged with an investigation into how federal funds were allocated to states. Some Bolsonaro-aligned legislators had pressed for an investigation into how states and municipalities treated the pandemic, but Pacheco claimed that such a move would infringe on state legislatures’ authority.

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining Brazil’s medical system in many areas, thanks in part to the so-called P1 variant, which many medical experts say is highly contagious and lethal.

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According to Health Ministry numbers, 3,808 Brazilians died of COVID-19 on Tuesday alone, taking the estimated death toll to over 358,000, second only to the United States.

Furthermore, victims are getting younger, with patients under 40 years old occupying more than half of intensive care units, according to a survey conducted over the weekend by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine.

Bolsonaro has drawn widespread criticism for his approach to the coronavirus, which he has described as a “little flu.” He has repeatedly ignored calls of health experts to wear masks and railed against the use of lockdown measures.

Bolsonaro has lashed out at politicians, enraged by threats to get him prosecuted. Despite Senate leadership’s stalling, a Supreme Court judge ruled last week that enough senators supported an investigation into the government’s pandemic response to launch the investigation.

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