News

Bolsonaro's Coronavirus-Carrying Aide Forces Closure of MDC Medical Campus

The visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (above) — and his coronavirus-carrying press secretary — has had a ripple effect in Miami.
The visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (above) — and his coronavirus-carrying press secretary — has had a ripple effect in Miami. Photo by Marcelo Camargo / Wikimedia Commons
The visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (above) — and his coronavirus-carrying press secretary — has had a ripple effect in Miami. - PHOTO BY MARCELO CAMARGO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (above) — and his coronavirus-carrying press secretary — has had a ripple effect in Miami.
Miami Dade College's medical campus has officially closed in response to news that a member of a delegation led by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Fabio Wajngarten, Bolsonaro's press secretary, tested positive for the virus earlier today, according to a report by Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo that has been confirmed by various U.S. outlets.

In the past few days, Bolsonaro and Wajngarten made several stops in Florida, including a meet-and-greet Monday with Miami's Brazilian community at the Miami Dade College Auditorium on the school's medical campus. The campus has been temporarily closed, and all extracurricular events college-wide have been canceled. Miami Dade College says it's consulting with local health officials regarding additional actions, but the college has yet to cancel classes on its main campus.

The Brazilian delegation also paid a visit to President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last Saturday, where Wajngarten was photographed with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. But Bolsonaro's South Florida tour didn't stop there. The far-right leader and his aide Monday met with Florida Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio as well as Miami and Miami-Dade Mayors Francis Suarez and Carlos Gimenez.

Suarez and Scott have self-quarantined as a precaution, although both deny experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus. Gimenez also began a self-quarantine today and is awaiting a health assessment to see if testing will be required, according to reporting by NBC Miami.
Trump, for his part, told White House reporters today he's "not concerned" about the news regarding Wajngarten. According to the White House, Trump and Pence do not require any testing themselves because they had "almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive."


As for Bolsonaro, yesterday he dismissed reports about Wajngarten's diagnosis as a fantasy concocted by the media.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Manuel Madrid is a former staff writer for Miami New Times. The child of Venezuelan immigrants, he grew up in Pompano Beach. He studied finance at Virginia Commonwealth University and worked as a writing fellow for the magazine The American Prospect in Washington, D.C.