RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A surging coronavirus is ravaging parts of Latin America, setting records for cases and deaths Friday in some countries in the world’s most unequal region even as the pandemic’s march slows in much of Europe, Asia and the United States.
Latin America’s two largest nations — Mexico and Brazil — reported record numbers of infections and deaths almost daily this week, fueling criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage.
Brazil reported more than 330,000 confirmed cases as of Friday, surpassing Russia to become the nation with the second-highest number of infections, behind only the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Brazil also has recorded more than 21,000 deaths, though experts believe the true numbers are higher.
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Valnir da Silva died on the streets of a poor Rio de Janeiro neighborhood on Saturday. His body lay on the sidewalk for 30 hours, according to relatives and neighbors.
Although they may never be sure, they suspect the 62-year-old was an uncounted victim of the coronavirus outbreak tearing through Rio’s marginalized communities and stretching public services past their limits.
As much of Asia and Europe pass the worst of the pandemic, Brazil is hurtling toward its peak, with more than 17,000 already dead. Latin America’s biggest country passed Britain this week in a grim toll of the most confirmed cases after Russia and the United States.
Deaths in Rio state trail only the more populous Sao Paulo. The outbreak is filling up intensive care units and thinning out the ranks of emergency services.
In San Luis Potosí, a city in central Mexico, some people believe the coronavirus is an invention by the government. They are sharing memes, videos and recordings with misinformation, in which people tell you that in the hospitals they drain the fluid from your knees and planes spray the city with the virus at night.
At the same time, it is very hard for people to stop working and self-isolate as they are being asked to do. In the brick-making factories in the working-class areas on the periphery of the city, workers don’t have the money to protect themselves. There is no antibacterial gel, there are no face masks and there is no safe distancing. The prevailing attitude is: “The virus will strike who it strikes.”