Latin America Is the Next Epicenter of COVID-19

As expected, COVID-19 has moved out of Asia, North America, and Europe. The New York Times reports that Latin America is now experiencing a surge of coronavirus deaths similar to the early days of the outbreak in Europe but without the money and infrastructure Europe brought to bear against the virus. Official figures are iffy, but here they are anyway:

Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico are high and climbing. All four look to be especially hard hit. The other countries look okay for the moment, but that’s likely to change over time. The Times describes the carnage:

Deaths doubled in Lima, rivaling the worst month of the pandemic in Paris. They tripled in Manaus, a metropolis tucked deep in Brazil’s Amazon — a surge similar to what London and Madrid endured. In Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador, the sudden spike in fatalities in April was comparable to what New York City experienced during its worst month: more than five times the number of people died than in previous years.

….Brazilian cities are resorting to mass graves to bury rows of stacked coffins. Hundreds of Ecuadoreans are still searching for the bodies of family members who went to hospitals and never returned….Peruvian highways swelled with the biggest wave of internal migration in years as people fled to the countryside when jobs disappeared. Tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees have been forced to walk back to their destroyed homeland because work in neighboring countries has become so scarce.

….Facing the pandemic in the wake of China, Europe and the United States brought an additional set of challenges. Exhausted local officials in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil pointed to global test shortages and explained they were being outbid by richer nations on scarce medical supplies.

This is a disaster that will likely make Europe and the United States look like pipsqueaks. And thanks to the COVID-19 outbreaks consuming everyone’s attention elsewhere, virtually no aid is flowing in to help out. Just the opposite, in fact.

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