SAO PAULO – The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Latin America has exceeded the figure for North America for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Latin America had by Monday seen at least 144,680 deaths so far, compared to 143,847 deaths in North America – comprising Canada and the United States – according to official counts.
The first confirmed cases of the virus in the Americas came within a day of each other in late February, first in Canada and then the United States and Mexico.
Initially, the United States and Canada suffered a more rapid escalation in reported case numbers.
However, Latin America struggled to contain the spread of the virus once it left the more affluent neighborhoods where it was first detected, usually in those who had travelled abroad.
A problematic combination of widespread poverty, informal labor, and poor healthcare, particularly in remote areas, contributed to the spread.
The leaders of the region’s two most populated countries, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, initially dismissed the severity of the virus.
The United States remains the individual country with the most overall deaths – 138,873 – followed by Brazil at 73,161.
Mexico and Peru are among the 10 nations with the highest number of deaths globally, while Chile, Colombia and Ecuador have also all suffered more than 5,000 deaths.
The world’s coronavirus infections surpassed 13 million on Monday, another grim milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The tally shows the disease is accelerating fastest in Latin America .–MercoPress
— the Santiago Times