Covid-19 cases have continued to rise sharply in Latin American countries-driven by a large number of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Chile-with the region accounting for 51% of the nearly 5,000 deaths attributed to the disease around the world every day.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, Brazil – the epicenter of the pandemic in the region – has now recorded over 1.5 million cases and more than 63,000 deaths, second only to the United States.
Likely driven by Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro’s downplaying of the virus and his calls to disregard social distancing, the South American nation has been recording more Covid-related deaths every day than any other nation, with 1,290 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
Mexico, the region’s second-most populous country, has recorded over 245,000 cases with nearly 30,000 deaths attributed to the virus.
Peru and Chile, have both reported nearly 300,000 cases, but their death tolls have been significantly lower than Mexico, likely due to the fact that both countries have done 10 times more testing.
Despite the steep numbers, projections suggest that case counts and deaths in the region are yet to reach a peak, with the University of Washington’s model predicting 100,000 more deaths in Brazil and nearly 60,000 more in Mexico by October 1
Former Colombian health minister Alejandro Gaviria told CNN: “Latin America is very heterogeneous. In some cities, health infrastructure is similar to what you find in developed countries; in rural areas, infrastructure is poor in general. It is like having Europe and Africa in the same continent.”
The first confirmed case of the disease in Latin America was identified in February in Brazil, although the virus may have been spreading within the population before that. The virus has since spread to every country in the region. As countries in the region now prepare to exit lockdowns, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Carissa Etienne, implored them to take a phased approach based on local conditions and warned that they must be prepared to impose preventive measures again “if the epidemiological situation changes.” The most recent projections released by the University of Washington suggested that things could get grimmer – with nearly 440,000 deaths expected across the region by October 1.
I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and