South America Braces for the Worst

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

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