said Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday when a journalist asked him about the fact that more than 5,000 Brazilians had died of the coronavirus.
There have been more than 91,000 officially confirmed cases so far but scientists warn the real figure could be 15 to 20 times higher.
With a death toll that has already topped 6,300, the giant South American country is facing as grim a scenario as Italy or the United States.
"His style is the iron fist, to be hard rather than to show solidarity or empathy," he told AFP.
"Ask Joao Doria or (Bruno) Covas [the mayor of Sao Paulo] why people continue to die even when they have taken such restrictive measures," said the president.
has "underscored how little importance he has attached to the situation," said political analyst Andre Pereira Cesar.
"If the president does not assume a wartime leadership stance against the virus he will be judged harshly -- by history and by voters," he warned. »