Hundreds of thousands more could die from coronavirus in Latin America and Caribbean, warns international agency

Hundreds of thousands more could die from coronavirus in Latin America and Caribbean, warns international agency

By October 1, that number could increase by more than 300,000.

That was the title of this week’s British briefing Pan American Health Organization, citing the University of Washington model, which predicts more than 438,000 total deaths in the region by the end of September. This means that an average of nearly 3,500 people could die from the virus every day between now and then.

The creators of the model say they assumed that the countries in the projection would follow the guidelines for social distancing. And if prevention measures weaken, mortality may be even higher.

Big populations, big problems

The eight most populous countries in Latin America and the Caribbean – Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile and Ecuador – account for more than 82% of the region’s population.

Thus, it is not surprising that these countries drive exponential growth in both coronavirus and death cases.

Out of a total of 33 countries in the region, these eight countries account for 94% of the total number of cases and 96% of the total mortality.

Brazil is by far the worst offender. The registered cases and deaths – 1,496,858 and 61,884, respectively, as of Thursday, continue to climb. Its seven-day moving average from newly confirmed cases is as high as it once was. Reporting more than 40,000 new cases a day is no longer uncommon.

However, the economy began to open up significantly in many parts of the country, where it had previously closed. in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, bars and restaurants were allowed to open with a capacity of 50%.

In Mexico, economic recovery has also been central. In Mexico City, the worst affected part of the country, patrons enjoyed cocktails and appetizers in restaurants this week for the first time since March 23. Hotels, lounges and markets are now allowed to open.

This despite the fact that the death toll was 21,189 as of Thursday night. The mortality rate is approximately twice as high as a month ago and is now higher than in Spain.

The actual deaths due to the virus are probably even higher. In an interview with Washington PostMexico’s Deputy Health Minister Hugo L√≥pez-Gatell said the government’s forthcoming report suggested that there were three times as many deaths in Mexico from March to May than would be expected in a normal year. He told the newspaper that for these additional deaths, “… the majority is likely to be hidden.”

Smaller countries in the region are generally doing much better in controlling their outbreaks. Uruguay and Paraguay have fewer than 50 deaths. Belize has registered only 28 common cases since the outbreak.

But health officials are concerned about some of the other smaller countries, such as Costa Rica, which have more than doubled their cases over the past month. The Pan American Health Organization says new cases there could peak by October.

The wide length of the hearth

Economic prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean were not great before the pandemic arrived. It has gotten so much worse since then.

The most International Monetary Fund predicts combined GDP in the region and the Caribbean to shrink by 9.4% in 2020. This is four points worse than its April forecast and would be the worst such recession since record-keeping began.

Even countries that have been largely spared the worst health consequences of a pandemic will not be able to avoid the consequences.

Many island nations in the Caribbean have a limited number of cases, but will see huge blows to their economies as tourism, the lifeblood of many, declines rapidly.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Latin America and the Caribbean could see record unemployment figures as a result of the pandemic. More than 41 million people could be unemployed in 2020, according to a new report by International Labor Organization, almost 60% growth compared to 2019.

Some of these unemployed will come from the airline, with carriers in the region among the worst hit in the world.

Mexican carrier Aeromexico went bankrupt this week, the third airline in the region to do so since the outbreak, joining LatAm Airlines and Avianca Airlines.

And from economics to the environment, the Brazilian National Space Research Institute registered more fires in the Amazon this June than any previous June since 2007.

Forest fires may not appear to be directly related to a deadly virus. But conservation activists warn that illegal loggers and grubbers took advantage of limited official resources during the pandemic, burning large cities from the forest for financial gain.

Signs of hope

Peru and Chile have reported the sixth and seventh most confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, with a total of nearly 600,000.

But after months of grim news, both sides expressed a more encouraging tone this week.

Chile marks the lowest one-day rise in new cases since May 19. The average daily average for the country also fell significantly after its peak on June 21.

“At the national level, the data are good,” said Chilean Health Minister Enrique Paris. “The country still has a fever, but the fever is much lower,” he continued, referring to the improvement in the number of infections.

On Thursday, Peru marked its sixth consecutive day when the number of people discharged from hospitals was greater than the number of new cases.

Peru’s health ministry said in a statement that Thursday was “… one of its best dates in the fight against the pandemic.”

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