The pandemic in South America is taking an alarming turn for the worse.
- 35% of the world’s COVID-19 deaths last week occurred in Latin America though it has just 8% of the global population.
- Bogotá, Colombia’s mayor is warning residents to brace for “the worst two weeks of our lives” as it posts record deaths in recent days, along with Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay.
- Brazil passed 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths yesterday.
Why? Limited vaccination, weak health systems, daunting inequality, and economic stress fueling resistance to stay-at-home orders.
And, a dangerous neighbor: Brazil is “helping fuel a dangerous variant that is now stalking the continent.”
And yet, scientists say the worst is yet to come—and these countries are not ready.
“The worst-case scenario is the development of a new variant that is not protected by current vaccines,” says PAHO’s Jarbas Barbosa, urging rapid, equal access to vaccines for all countries.
The New York Times