COVID-19 has killed more than a million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the slow deployment of vaccines is preventing the pandemic crisis from exiting.
From coronavirus was first detected in the Sao Paulo region in late February 2020, AFP recorded more than 1,001,400 deaths (almost 30% of the world total) and more than 31.5 million cases.
Almost 90% of the fatalities have been recorded in only five countries, representing 70% of the total population of the region: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.
“At the moment the situation is terrible. We have never had anything like this in our country,” Jacil Farias, an 82-year-old Brazilian retiree, told AFP a few days ago.
Brazil is the second country most affected in the world by deaths from COVID-19 after the United States and has the highest overall mortality rate in Latin America.
However, daily fatalities have fallen by a third since they passed 3,000 in the first fortnight of April.
Mexico, the second most affected country in the region, has seen daily COVID deaths decline even more hastily, from 1,300 in late January to just 170.
The capital of Mexico City will reopen schools starting June 7 following in the footsteps of two states that have already done so and four more that will do so in early June.
However, the opposite is happening in Colombia, where 500 unprecedented daily deaths combined with massive street protests against the government have left the country with two simultaneous crises, in addition to existing poverty and violence.
Colombia was to be co-host of the Copa America football tournament with Argentina from June 13, but was stripped of its position by the governing body of South American football CONMEBOL due to its problems.
Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said Wednesday that the body “expected even larger increases” due to recent street protests.
The situation in Argentina is also drastic: 35,800 new cases and 435 deaths were recorded on Thursday.
President Alberto Fernandez announced a nine-day closure on Saturday with the country going through its “worst moment of the pandemic.”
“People don’t care, none of us are aware and we want to go on a trip,” Alicia Sepulveda, a resident of Buenos Aires, told AFP.
Neighboring Uruguay, which was praised for much of 2020 as a model for managing the pandemic, hit rock bottom in April and currently has the world’s highest newspaper death rate.
In the last two weeks, an average of 20.73 inhabitants per million died every day, the highest in the world followed by Argentina (14.16) and Colombia (13.22), according to an AFP count.
Carla Romero, a nursing assistant at an intensive care center in the capital of Montevideo, told AFP that it was difficult to see the virus as a real threat until the fatalities are “your deaths, until it happens. your family “.
Hunger “the hardest”
The United States is slowly returning to normal and European countries are lifting more and more restrictions thanks to their advanced vaccination programs, but Latin America has only just immunized three percent of its population, according to PAHO.
The region suffers from a lack of access to the necessary vaccines and medical supplies.
Only four percent of the medical supplies used to combat COVID-19 are produced in the region, which explains the widespread lack of protective equipment, oxygen, drugs and vaccines, PAHO said.
Although Chile and Uruguay are making great strides in their vaccination programs, deployment in Brazil and Argentina is painfully slow.
The pandemic also highlights poor health systems in the region, where hospitals are being invaded.
Fragile economies marked by massive social inequality have also been severely affected.
Even Chile, maintained for a long time as one of the most prosperous economies in the region, suffered in 2020 its worst economic contraction in 40 years with a fall of 5.8%.
More than a million people lost their jobs, and many also lost their homes, forced to move to makeshift camps.
“The hardest thing has been hunger,” Ingrid Lara told AFP from a camp in the capital Santiago.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Slow deployment of vaccines reaches LatAm as COVID-19 claims millions of lives (2021, May 22) recovered on May 22, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-vaccine- rollout-latam-covid-million.html
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