Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa told a press conference on Wednesday that poor people are “immune” to Covid-19, as wealthy people make up the majority of those infected.
He said that of the 38 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Puebla, most of them were “well-to-do people.”
“Those who are infected right now, … the majority are well-to-do people, eh? If you’re rich, you’re at risk. If you’re poor, no. Us poor folks are immune,” he said.
Barbosa’s reasoning for the virus preferring more affluent hosts was “because they travel.”
His administration deleted the fragment of video that contained his statement from its social networks and website, but the move did little to stop the remark from making its way around the internet. A number of news outlets published the footage from the press conference.
As to Barbosa’s status as one of “the poor folks,” his declaration of assets would suggest he is not among them. He owns two houses, one of which is valued at 10 million pesos (US $430,000), and three vehicles with an estimated value of more than 2.5 million pesos.
The governor said that his Tuesday meetings with up to 20 citizens are still scheduled despite Barbosa having diabetes, putting him at risk of suffering a serious Covid-19 infection.
“I’ll keep going until I get the coronavirus, and then I’ll keep going from there,” he said.
Puebla has so far seen cases of Covid-19 in San Andrés Cholula, Teziutlán, Huejotzingo, Tlapanalá and Chalchicomula de Sesma.
This was not the first time Barbosa’s mouth has landed him in controversy. He fell into hot water with animal rights activists in February when he announced the construction of a new bullfighting arena after having promised on the campaign trail that he would respect animal rights.