Latin America: Highest COVID-19 Death Rate

Mexico City has canceled the Day of the Dead celebration in Mixquic, Tlahuac. October 29, 2020. Image: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty
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Mexico City has canceled the Day of the Dead celebration in Mixquic, Tlahuac. October 29, 2020. Image: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty

COVID-19 cases are rising in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the death toll has passed 397,000—marking the world’s highest death rate from the virus, Andalou reports.

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico are among the world’s top 10 countries in terms of COVID-19 cases, Andalou reported earlier this week, as the region battles its first wave of the pandemic.

  • Mexico, with the world’s 4th highest death toll, will mark Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Nov. 1-2, replacing its normal “color, music and flowers” with national mourning for coronavirus victims.

  • Uruguay has fared better than some neighboring countries, but amid recent outbreaks officials fear expected Halloween parties and cemetery visits could drive up cases.

  • Brazil has endured 158,456 deaths and 5.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, while President Jair Bolsonaro said locking down to control rising cases was “crazy” and said he won’t pay for the Chinese vaccine that is under clinical trial in Sao Paulo state.


Inside a Venezuelan COVID Ward

Venezuela has far too few health workers to care for the sick, as Scott Smith describes in this must-read AP story.

Relatives must fill the gaps left by the ~33,000 doctors and ~6,000 nurses who have fled the country in recent years. 1 nurse commonly cares for up to 60 patients rather than the 5-6 international standard.

“We’re living a kind of pandemonium,” said Ana Rosario Contreras, president of the Caracas Nurses College. “Our salary isn’t even enough to cover the cost of public transportation to simply get to work at the hospitals.”

Smith describes how Elena Suazo—a cafeteria worker who makes $2/month—cares for her father, sick with the virus, carefully washing her two sets of PPE every day.

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