Coronavirus in Latin America: How Some Countries Are Handling It
The coronavirus in Latin America has led to a difficult pandemic situation. Various countries have handled the challenge in different ways.
Lockdown has proven to be the most effective way to keep the virus under control. But with lockdowns in place, the economy suffers. Because many people in Latin America live on a day-to-day basis, the coronavirus in Latin America is much more complex than in wealthier countries.
Let’s take a look at 5 countries that have handled the coronavirus in Latin America in different ways. By reading this post, you’ll better understand the situation and the impact that the pandemic has had in these Latin American countries throughout this crisis.
How 5 Latin American Countries Have Handled the COVID-19 Pandemic
Brazil and Peru have been epicenters of the pandemic in Latin America, but the impact may be even greater in countries like Guatemala where there is low public investment and a weak healthcare infrastructure.
In spite of control measures and border closures, US deportations have continued, including some who have tested positive for COVID-19. Because of this, many Latin American families face a decline in their income as remittances from abroad decrease.
The coronavirus in Latin America became an epicenter of the pandemic, driven greatly by Brazil’s large number of cases. Brazil has had more than 7 million cases and almost 200,000 deaths.
In June, Brazil had 1,000 deaths per day (as did the United States and India). In August, the death toll finally began to decrease. That’s when restaurants, tourist attractions, and malls started to reopen. But as soon as preventive measures started to ease, the cases started to increase once more. They have not had another official lockdown, but the use of masks is mandatory even though many people don’t follow the rules.
Many Brazilians say the pandemic has been handled by Bolsonaro similarly to how Trump handled the situation in the U.S. The government indicated that the pandemic is not as serious as it is, making the situation worse.
And a major problem with coronavirus in Latin America is ignorance, which makes any situation more complex and difficult to deal with. Brazil suffered an economic crisis in 2015, and the coronavirus has only made matters worse.
Mexico has the second highest coronavirus death toll in Latin America after Brazil. There have been more than a million cases and approximately 130,000 deaths in Mexico according to Worldometer.
The WHO has noted that the effects of the pandemic will be felt for decades after it’s over. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has given priority to the economy over people’s health, saying that pandemic lockdowns are a tactic of dictators.
The government announced a plan to reopen in May. In Mexico City, many workers returned to their jobs in offices and factories. In July, the government announced that non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen in Mexico City, the epicenter of the country’s pandemic.
Economists fear that a period of depression with high unemployment is on the horizon for Mexico. People say that the president was slow to impose lockdown and lifted it too quickly, leading Mexico to suffer greatly. State governors called for the resignation of Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gate, Mexico’s coronavirus tsar.
Uruguay has performed comparatively well in containing the coronavirus in Latin America. Uruguay has a relatively low level of informal labor, is relatively small in size, has a small population (3.4 million), and boasts a better healthcare system than most countries in Latin America.
Uruguay also has a popular new government, social cohesion, and more effective political institutions, enabling it to handle the pandemic in a much better way than most.
Early on in the pandemic, Uruguayan scientists created test kits for people to use at home and even sent some to neighboring countries in need. Developing these national testing kits protected Uruguay from market shortages. They were able to offer 200 tests per day in March and then about 1,000 per day by the end of July.
This is precisely why Uruguay has done so well at protecting their economy, as well. Nevertheless, due to strict travel restrictions, all countries’ economies have been affected.
Uruguay has had 23,000 cases and 221 deaths in total, making it one of the few countries that have handled the coronavirus in Latin America in an excellent way.
4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is another success story for coronavirus in Latin America. They have a strong democracy that promotes human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development. Costa Rica abolished their army and dedicated all the resources to education. Costa Rica quickly closed its borders in March.
Costa Rica has had 175,000 cases and 2,200 deaths, making it the lowest case fatality rate in Central America. They also have a high number of recovered cases.
At the beginning of May, there were less than 12 registered cases in intensive care. Although Costa Rica’s handling of coronavirus in Latin America has been effective, the country has been affected by this global pandemic economically. The drop in international tourism affects Costa Rica greatly.
Experiencing the coronavirus in Latin America in Guatemala has been an interesting experience to go through. Currently, Guatemala has about 142,000 cases and almost 5,000 deaths. But it is not only the virus that affects developing countries. Millions of people are currently in need of emergency food aid as a result of the loss of livelihoods related to the pandemic.
Acute malnutrition among children has been reported due to the coronavirus in Guatemala. And if the pandemic gets out of control in Guatemala, health systems could easily collapse since they are not strong to begin with. A large percentage of the population does not have access to healthcare.
A lockdown was in place from March to July of 2020. According to Juan Luna, MD, a specialist working closely with COVID-19, the use of masks, sanitation measurements, and social distancing are imperative to prevent further spread of the coronavirus in Latin America.
In Guatemala, health systems are weak and medical services are concentrated in a few urban centers. Most people in Guatemala do not have access to COVID-19 testing or treatment services. This is why preventative measurements are crucial.
Also for you: How Coronavirus Has Changed Society in Guatemala
Coronavirus In Other Countries
Many Latin American countries are still experiencing high infection rates, with Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina reporting large numbers of cases daily. Only Mexico has begun vaccination, but the process is slow.
Paraguay imposed an early lockdown. Their figures went up since reopening the border with Brazil. And Ecuador has been a hotspot of the virus in Latin America with nearly 220,00 and 14,000 deaths.
But the impossible has been proven to be possible by countries such as Taiwan. Given its proximity to China, they had a protocol to follow in case of a pandemic and this minimized the impact of the coronavirus in Taiwan. Absolutely everyone wears a mask religiously, social distancing has been in place without exception, and the national borders remain closed.
Education plays a huge role during a crisis, and this problem is what has made the coronavirus in Latin America much more difficult. If governments have protocols in place to follow in case of emergencies, then it can be handled differently. Taiwan proves how crucial it is to be as prepared as possible.
According to the UN, poverty caused by the coronavirus in Latin America affected 83.4 million people in 2020. This entails a rise in hunger which could sadly kill many more people than the coronavirus in Latin America itself.
Action Against Hunger is distributing food and hygiene and disinfection kits while trying to monitor the nutrition status of the population, especially children. Public health services have provided frontline staff with protective equipment and thermometers. The fight against COVID-19 isn’t over, and awareness campaigns have been carried out to inform people of the importance of taking this global pandemic seriously.
The future is unpredictable, dynamic, and constantly shaped by many unpredictable circumstances. Who could have known what was coming in 2020?
But while we cannot foresee what will come, we can take action and get involved so that our governments better handle situations like this in the future. Having a long-term vision and preparing ourselves for the future is something we can do.
Vaccination for the coronavirus in Latin America has begun in countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica. It is a long process and many people are refusing to get vaccinated. Here are some pros and cons related to vaccination.
For further information on how to track the global pandemic, I found the BBC to be an accurate and helpful source of information. Information is power, and it’s important to know what is happening so that we can know how to handle the situation in the best possible way.
How Have You Handled Your Experience During Coronavirus?
The coronavirus has impacted the world in ways that will be seen for many years to come. It is a crisis, but it can also be a lesson so that it is prevented in the future. I am curious to know what your experience during COVID-19 has been. Where do you live? How has it affected your life? How has your country handled it?
Surviving a global pandemic is no small feat. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts about coronavirus in Latin America or wherever you currently live.
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