Latin American Countries Struggle To Contain COVID-19 : NPR

A worker digs a grave in the San Juan Bautista Cemetery in Iquitos, Peru amid the coronavirus pandemic. On May 28, 2021, Peru announced a sharp spike in the death toll from COVID-19, saying that there has been more than 180,000 deaths since the pandemic early last year.

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A worker digs a grave in the San Juan Bautista Cemetery in Iquitos, Peru amid the coronavirus pandemic. On May 28, 2021, Peru announced a sharp spike in the death toll from COVID-19, saying that there has been more than 180,000 deaths since the pandemic early last year.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Government officials in Peru announced Monday that the country’s official COVID-19 death toll was well below the real figure. Instead of 69,342 Peruvians who died from COVID-19 on May 22, as the Peruvian government previously reported, more than 180,000 have actually died from the virus.

Officials put the count down to “a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person died from the virus or some other cause.” Reuters Reports. The new number means Peru has the highest death toll per capita in the world.

The news comes at the end of a bank holiday weekend in the US, where millions of Americans travel again previously put on hold due to the pandemic. In the United States, COVID-19 cases continue to decline as vaccination rates rise.

But in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and many other Latin American countries, government and health agencies are still struggling to contain the virus.

On Monday, Argentine officials reported that the country had a total of 3.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 77,000 deaths since the pandemic began Data from the World Health Organization. The devastating infection rate in Argentina has led the organizers of the Copa America football tournament to look elsewhere for a host country.

CONMEBOL, the umbrella organization of the tournament, announced on Sunday that they dropped Argentina as the host country less than two weeks before the event started.

The tournament, in which 10 South American countries take part, was originally supposed to be hosted by Argentina and Colombia. Tournament officials dropped Colombia in early May due to social unrest.

The competitions now appear to be relocating to Brazil, where coronavirus conditions are no better. As of Tuesday morning, there were more than 16.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 462,791 Deaths have been recorded in Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins.

Thousands of demonstrators went to the streets of Brazil Over the weekend they called for more vaccines and the impeachment of President Jair Bolsnaro for dealing with the virus.

The protesters held up signs depicting Bolsonaro as a virus and with messages in Portuguese: “Bolsonaro creates genocide”.

Protesters wearing face masks hold signs depicting President Jair Bolsonaro as a virus protest against the government’s response to fighting COVID-19 and calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, May 29.

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Protesters wearing face masks hold signs depicting President Jair Bolsonaro as a virus protest against the government’s response to fighting COVID-19 and calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, May 29.

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The state’s Senate will conduct a government investigation into how to deal with the pandemic and the stop-and-go start of the state’s vaccination program.

Bolsanaro has long resisted global lockdown measures to contain the virus, but on Monday the federal government announced it temporary ban on the entry of foreigners “of any nationality” into Brazil.

Latin America has gaps in access to vaccines

Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, made the record high death rates in Latin America and the Caribbean countries “Clear gaps” on access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Mai Etienne said only 3% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The US fully vaccinated more than half of American adults.

“The progress we are seeing in the US is evidence of the power of safe and effective COVID vaccines, but underscores the critical importance of accelerating access to vaccines across our region so that other countries can fully immunize their populations,” said Etienne said. “We urgently need more vaccines for Latin America and the Caribbean, a region that has been tested by this pandemic.”

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are largely dependent on COVAX for their vaccination programs. The international effort buy masses of vaccines from manufacturers and then distribute them fairly to countries according to their population.

Peru is is expected to receive 1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses from COVAX until June 4th.

In Argentina, officials are making the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine to increase the vaccination rate. Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández said in an interview on Monday: “If things go as planned, we expect to have more than 2 million cans of Sputnik V made in Argentina by June.”

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