“We are particularly concerned about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing an accelerating epidemic,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
The 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 calm down may continue to grow.
Health officials warn countries to reopen their economies too soon, even as nations prepare for reopening or have already done so.
Here is an overview of the epidemic in the three countries hardest hit in Latin America, which make up approximately 60% of the region’s population. And there’s the success story.
The country has recorded at least 645,771 coronavirus cases and 35,026 deaths.
It recently passed Italy which became the country with the third highest mortality in the world and is likely to soon surpass the United Kingdom.
This means that Brazil will have the second most numerous case and deaths in the world, lagging only behind the United States.
Still, it is worth noting that Brazil is testing a significantly lower rate than the US. This means that many cases remain unregistered.
The co-ordinator of the Ministry of Health in the most populous state of São Paulo says some cases of coronavirus have been reported as severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS due to the state’s low capacity to test Covid-19.
A study released this week by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul says Brazil will record one million cases and 50,000 deaths by June 20th.
Meanwhile, some of Brazil’s major cities are starting to reopen. Rio de Janeiro allows irrelevant companies such as churches, shops and decorative shops to once again accept customers.
First, Mexico recorded its worst week of the epidemic, both in confirmed cases and in deaths.
In one day, he recorded more than 1,000 deaths for the first time. And for three days in a row, it recorded one-day highs in new cases.
Despite the grim numbers and conflicting messages from government leaders, officials have pushed forward with a gradual plan to reopen across the country.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López Gatell, who is leading Mexico’s Covid-19 response, urged Mexicans to stay home. He stressed that the country is not coming out of the forest, even if some economic sectors start to reopen.
But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered a different message.
“Don’t steal, don’t rob, don’t betray, and that helps a lot not to get the coronavirus,” he said on Thursday.
AMLO, as the president is commonly known, left Mexico City on Monday for the first time since the end of March.
He toured the Yucatán Peninsula and began construction of the so-called Maya Train, an ambitious infrastructure project that will connect cities in five Southeast European countries.
Mexico recorded 110,026 cases and 13,170 deaths. But given the country’s extremely low testing rates, health officials said the true number of cases is likely large in the millions.
One person told CNN subsidiary TVPerú Noticias that oxygen prices have doubled. And the government now admits there is a problem.
“Our mission is to avoid the development of a black market that is mercantile and uses the pandemic to abuse people,” said Cesar Chaname, a spokesman for the Peruvian health agency.
Peru is still battling one of the worst epidemics in Latin America, with 187,400 cases, the second largest in the region after Brazil.
The country has far better testing rates than other countries in the region, something experts say helps understand how bad the epidemic really is.
But even with that knowledge, the economic toll put pressure on the authorities to reopen the economy.
This week, officials announced that Peru will enter phase 2 of its reopening plan, where companies like clothing stores and hair salons can operate again.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said such 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 Latin America, given the country’s largely successful response to Covid-19.
The country of about 3.5 million people borders Brazil, where the worst outbreak in Latin America has had a devastating effect.
But Uruguay recorded only 832 cases. It recorded one death since May 24 and a total of only 23 were killed.
Experts say the reasons for the country’s success are numerous – a strong early response that includes quarantine measures, a large and effective system for finding and isolating the infected, randomized testing and the creation of a crisis response committee.
Consequently, there is less risk as Uruguay begins to reopen its economy.
The country began easing restrictions in early May. As of June 1, primary and secondary education has resumed in more than 400 schools, and the reopening of businesses is gradually being made possible.