In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are more than thirteen million positive cases of COVID-19. South America is the region of Latin America with the highest concentration of cases, with Brazil leading the count with nearly 7.5 million positive cases, with Colombia and hile Argentina next, close to 1.6 million positive cases.
Brazil, the Latin American giant, has the third most positive cases (behind the US and India) in the world and the second most deaths from COVID-19 (behind the US), experiencing an alarming peak in infections in 15 of its 27 states and with a total of more than 191,000 deaths.
The outbreak is also spreading quickly in other countries in South America. Argentina has registered more than 42,000 deaths from Covid-19, even though its government was one of the quickest to institute a lockdown. The lockdown lasted from March 20 – November 8, making it the longest in the world. Peru has one of the highest (ranked 6th in the world) deaths per 100,000 people rates of 116.81, their case fatality rate is also high (3.7%).
In Central America, Panama has the most cases with more than 231, 000 cases. Honduras has a case fatality rate of 2.6% and 31.97 deaths per 100,000 people. Costa Rica has nearly 163,000 positive cases and a death rate of almost 42 per 100,000 people.
Likewise, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua experienced powerful hurricanes Eta and Lota at the beginning of November, which left nearly 200 dead, missing people and destroyed infrastructure. The consequences of these natural disasters have a direct impact on COVID-19 cases, due to new infections in crowded spaces, such as shelters, and new vulnerabilities due to changes in hygiene conditions, access to running water or comorbidities according to a recent report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Deaths in Central America are concentrated among older adults, with nearly 80% of the COVID-19 cases detected in the region occurring among those ages 60 years and older, with male older adults being the majority of the victims (65%).
Although the end of the disease is closer every day, there is still a long way to go. With the approval of the vaccine, some countries plan to buy millions of doses, but the price differs, distribution can be slow, and the Pfizer vaccine requires special storage.
The vaccination process in Latin America and the Caribbean is shaping up to be complex, and it may not be as fast as expected. In the region of about 650 million inhabitants, there are large sections of the population living in areas that are difficult to access. Some areas also do not have the ability to store the Pfizer vaccine, which generally require less than 70 degrees Celsius freezers.
Until now, the health guidelines provided (e.g., physical distancing, the use of face masks and good hand hygiene) are the fastest and most accurate solutions to stop the spread of the virus, until the vaccine arrives to the region and we are able to build herd immunity.
Originally published by The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA): Source