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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro celebrates his 66th birthday with supporters at the Alvorada Palace

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has defied expert advice on social distancing and face masks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus -- though he has recently adopted a more pragmatic tone, under pressure amid a deadly surge of COVID-19 in Brazil.

That included appearing in a face mask -- formerly a rarity -- to greet supporters wishing him a happy birthday outside the presidential palace in Brasilia.

"The importance [of being here] is that he feels the affection that we have for him, the love that we have for his person as president, as a man, as a patriot," says a supporter.