“We are particularly concerned about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing an acceleration of epidemics,” said director of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday.
WHO does not believe that Central or South America has reached the peak of transmission, which means that the number of people who get sick and die could continue to increase.
Health officials warn countries not to reopen their economies too early, even if nations are preparing to reopen or have already done so.
Here is a look at epidemics in three of the most affected countries in Latin America, which represent around 60% of the region’s population. And there is also a success story.
The country has recorded at least 645,771 coronavirus cases and 35,026 deaths.
Italy has recently moved on to become the country with the third highest death in the world and will probably soon surpass the United Kingdom.
This means that Brazil will have the second largest number of cases and deaths in the world, dragging only the United States.
It is worth noting, however, that Brazil is testing at a much lower rate than the United States. This means that many cases are not recorded.
In the most populous state in the country of São Paulo, the coordinator of the Ministry of Health says that some cases of coronavirus have probably been recorded as severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, due to the state’s low Covid-19 test capability.
A study published this week by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul says that Brazil will register 1 million cases and 50,000 deaths by June 20.
In the meantime, some of Brazil’s big cities are starting to reopen. Rio de Janeiro is allowing non-essential companies like churches, auto shops and furniture stores to accept customers again.
First, Mexico has experienced its worst epidemic week, both in confirmed cases and in deaths.
It recorded more than 1,000 deaths for the first time in a single day. And for three consecutive days, it recorded one-day highs in new cases.
Despite the bleak numbers and mixed messages from government leaders, officials have carried out a gradual reopening plan across the country.
Deputy Health Secretary Hugo López Gatell, who leads Covid-19’s Mexican response, urged Mexicans to stay home. He stressed that the country is not out of the woods, although some sectors of the economy are starting to reopen.
But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered a different message.
“Don’t steal, don’t steal, don’t betray, and this helps a lot in not getting coronavirus,” he said Thursday.
AMLO, as the President is commonly known, ventured out of Mexico City on Monday for the first time since late March.
He visited the Yucatán peninsula and inaugurated the construction of the so-called Maya Train, an ambitious infrastructure project that will connect the cities of five states in the southeast.
Mexico recorded 110,026 cases and 13,170 deaths. But given the extremely low test rates in the country, health officials said the real number of cases is likely to be well over millions.
One person told CNN affiliate TVPerú Noticias that oxygen prices have doubled. And the government now admits that there is a problem.
“Our mission is to avoid developing a black market that is mercantile and uses a pandemic to abuse people,” said Cesar Chaname, a spokesman for Peru’s public health agency.
Peru continues to face one of Latin America’s worst outbreaks, with its 187,400 cases the second highest in the region behind Brazil.
The country has much better test rates than other countries in the region, experts say helps understand how serious the outbreak is.
But even with this knowledge, the economic balance sheet has put pressure on the authorities to reopen the economy.
Officials announced this week that Peru will enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan, where companies such as clothing stores and hairdressers will return to business.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said that the moves mean that about 80% of the economy will soon be open.
“We cannot support 100% of the country’s needs with only 50% of the economy’s production,” he said.
People called Uruguay New Zealand of Latin America, given the country’s widely successful Covid-19 response.
The country of about 3.5 million people borders Brazil, where the worst outbreak in Latin America has had devastating effects.
But Uruguay only recorded 832 cases. He has recorded one death since May 24 and only 23 deaths in total.
Experts say the reasons for the country’s success are numerous: a solid initial response that includes quarantine measures, a large and efficient system for tracking and isolating infected and randomized tests and the creation of a crisis response committee.
As a result, there is a lesser risk as Uruguay begins to reopen its economy.
The country began easing restrictions in early May. On June 1, primary and secondary rural education started again in over 400 schools and businesses were also gradually allowed to reopen.
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