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Latin America is losing its battle against coronavirus.

Like the global number of Covid-19 victims exceed 400,000, the region has become the pandemic hotspot.

Latin America has recorded nearly 1.2 million cases and over 60,000 deaths. But these numbers can be superficial, Matt Rivers reports. This is because in several countries, test rates remain low and many Covid-19 deaths are not reported.

Brazil, the most affected country in the region, has reported a new record number of deaths in the past three days. A study released this week states that Brazil will likely see 1 million cases and 50,000 deaths by June 20.

But Tracking down the toll has become more difficult. The government of President Jair Bolsonaro stopped reporting total numbers on Thursday, the day Brazil’s death toll exceeded Italy’s. He removed the cumulative data from the official tracker and said he would only report the number of new cases and deaths each day.

“The manipulation of statistics is a ploy by authoritarian regimes. It is an attempt to hide Covid-19 numbers to reduce social control over health policies,” said Supreme Court Judge Gilmar Mendes.

Only a handful of countries in the region – Uruguay, Belize and Costa Rica – have so far managed to limit the spread of the disease. How? Timely responses, quarantine measures, an efficient tracking and isolation system and randomized tests.

George Floyd protesters say the coronavirus is worth challenging: “Obviously, people are a little closer than the recommended six foot distance, but I think what we are doing is so important“says Sarah Foster, one of the thousands of protesters who marched yesterday in Washington, DC.

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Health experts fear the virus is spreading among protesters, although most, including Foster, wear masks and try to keep their distance.

Despite the discomfort, more than 1,000 health professionals signed a letter expressing concern that protests could be closed in the guise of coronavirus protections. And they offer advice on how to keep protests safe.

“White supremacy is a lethal public health problem that precedes and contributes to COVID-19,” they write.

The pandemic leaps forward to free the Americans detained from Iran: In a bizarre twist of fate, Michael White, the U.S. Navy veteran released from Iranian custody this week, may owe his freedom to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

When he and an Iranian detainee in the United States got the virus, the opportunity arose to initiate delicate negotiations that culminated in his release, Vivian Salama reports.

What does the coronavirus look like if you don’t have Internet access: With much of the world stuck in recent months, billions have seen the coronavirus crisis unfold through an apparently universal window: the Internet.

Eliza Mackintosh reports on the billions that remain offline. For them, blocking means losing immediate access to vital public health information, remote work opportunity, online learning, digital telemedicine appointments food deliveries, live streaming religious services – weddings and funerals – and many other ways we live our lives online.

A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fictional Newsletter. You can sign up here.


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