Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to deny the danger of COVID-19, as cases rise in Latin America’s most populated nation. Bolsonaro, who has called the virus a “little flu,” believes that Brazilians have developed a natural immunity to the disease.

“The Brazilian needs to be studied. He doesn’t catch anything. You see a guy jumping into sewage, diving in, right? Nothing happens to him. I think a lot of people were already infected in Brazil, weeks or months ago, and they already have the antibodies that help it not proliferate,” Bolsonaro said. “I’m hopeful that’s really a reality.”

Monica de Bolle, a Brazilian senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, responded in a video to Bolsonaro’s remarks, which was widely shared on social media. 

“Do you know what will happen, Bolsonaro? Brazil WILL stop. Your irresponsibility will bring thousands to avoidable deaths,” she tweeted Friday. “The destroyed lungs of these people, as well as the organs of those who won’t be able to have medical care, will fall on your lap. And Brazil will not spare you.”

Bolsonaro, 65, has feuded with the governors of the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, who have decided to implement shutdown orders to prevent the spread of the virus. He believes that these orders are unnecessary and that they will damage Brazil’s economy.

“What needs to be done? Put the people to work. Preserve the elderly, preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that,” Bolsonaro said earlier in the week. Right-wing groups in Brazil have organized protests in favor of Bolsonaro and against the forced closures of businesses. 

Four governors in southeast Brazil have threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro tries to get in the way of their efforts to fight the virus.

“We are here, the four governors of the southeast region, in respect for Brazil and Brazilians and in respect for dialogue and understanding,” Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria said in a videoconference with Bolsonaro. “But you are the president and you have to set the example. You have to be the representative to command, guide and lead this country, not divide it.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are 3,477 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brazil as of Saturday, with the death toll at 93.