May 22, 2020 | 5:01 pm
The coronavirus pandemic, which numbers more than five million people infected in the world, is advancing rapidly in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, where they exceed 20,000 deaths, but also in Peru, Chile and Argentina.
In the United States, the country most affected by COVID-19, there are more than 94,000 officially killed by the virus, so President Donald Trump determined that the flags will fly at half-staff from Friday to Sunday.
China, where the disease originated in December and which Washington accuses of being responsible for a “global massacre,” on Friday proclaimed its “great success” in fighting the deadly disease.
In Europe, where more than 170,000 people have died, a slow normalization begins, but precautionary measures become more rigorous.
The situation in Latin America
Brazil surpassed 20,000 deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, after registering 1,188 deaths in 24 hours, a record number, according to data from the country’s health ministry. The data confirms the acceleration of the pandemic.
The country has 57% of the dead in the region and is by far the most affected nation in Latin America. The South American giant is also the third in number of affected, with 310,087 cases (18,508 more than on Wednesday), behind the United States and Russia. However, the number of infections could be up to 15 times higher due to the difficulty of having accurate statistics due to the lack of tests, according to analysts.
Brazil is also experiencing days of strong political confusion, due to disagreements between the majority of the governors, in favor of the confinement measures, and the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who criticizes them due to their economic impact.
“More people die of dread than the fact itself. Dread also kills, leads to stress, to tiredness, the person does not sleep well, he is always worried (thinking) if that virus catches me, I am going to die, “Bolsonaro said Thursday.
However, the Brazilian president seemed to have an approach with his opponents in a teleconference with the governors of the entities of that country.
“Brazil needs to be united. The existence of a war, as it was said here, confronts all of us to defeat, “declared the Governor of Sao Pablo, Joao Doria, who said these days that the country was simultaneously dealing with the coronavirus and the ‘bolsonarovirus ‘.
Unlike what happens in countries like Spain or Italy, in Brazil the coronavirus kills many more young people. In Brazil, 69% of the deceased are over 60 years old, while in Spain and Italy 95% of the deaths are registered in people older than that age.
Throughout Latin America, more than 34,000 people have died from COVID-19 and there are 617,000 infections.
Given the rapid progression of the pandemic in the region, the presidents of Peru, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay met in videoconference to take action in the face of the crisis.
In addition to the cost in lives, the economic repercussions of the pandemic will be enormous. A report by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) published on Thursday estimates that the pandemic will generate 11.5 million unemployed in the region this year. And the contraction of the economy will be 5.4%, the worst since 1930.
Peru is the second country in the region with the highest number of infections and deaths, with about 110.00 and 3,100, respectively.
Most hospitals in Lima are overcrowded, said the ombudsman’s office, which oversees respect for human rights, on Thursday.
In health facilities, “biosafety equipment for staff, ICU beds (Intensive Care Unit), mechanical ventilators, oxygen, discard tests, among other devices and supplies, are lacking,” the office said.
In Mexico, until Thursday there were 59,567 infections, after a record increase for a day of 2,973.
In addition, the outbreak has left 6,510 deaths in the Latin American country, 420 more than the day before. Mexico is thus one of the 10 nations with the most deaths related to COVID-19.
Contagions and deportees
Chile, a country of 18 million inhabitants, has more than 57,000 cases and deaths increased 29% in the last 24 hours, reaching 589.
“This is a huge battle that no one can distance himself from,” said the health minister, Jaime Mañalich.
Many Chileans broke the confinement in recent days to demonstrate and claim food aid. The pandemic triggered unemployment and hunger in the poorest neighborhoods.
Argentina also registered a huge increase in cases. About 90% of the damages are in Buenos Aires and its periphery, in total about 14 million inhabitants. The balance of deceased in the country is 416.
In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammattei rebuked the Donald Trump administration for deporting infected migrants.
“We understand that the United States wants to deport people, but what we do not understand is that they send us all contaminated flights,” he said.
In Haiti, in the largest prison in Port-au-Prince, overcrowded and unhealthy, there are prisoners who tested positive for coronavirus, according to the prison official.
“We have fought a tough battle to prevent that, but unfortunately it has passed,” said Charles Nazaire Noel.
Back to normal
In Europe, countries such as France, Italy or Spain are making slow progress towards exiting confinement.
After two months of confinement, the Italians gradually recover their freedom. But, unsatisfied with the aid allocated and irritated by the unclear directives, many merchants refuse to open their stores in the country despite the government’s call to revive the sector.
“Even if it were open, it would not work, because there are no clients, no tourists. Italians generally don’t want to go to the restaurant for now, ”said Pietro Lepore, owner of Bar Harry in the heart of Rome.
The French economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, warned that his compatriots should prepare for the health crisis to cause “bankruptcies and layoffs in the coming months.” France announced that the second round of municipal elections that had been delayed by the epidemic will take place on June 28.
Russia had its highest daily death toll, 150 in the past 24 hours, and the government warned it expects a “significant” death toll in May. The nation has more than 317,000 cases and 3,099 deaths, according to official figures. GDP is expected to contract 9.5% in the second quarter.
China, where the virus that left 330,000 dead across the planet, appeared, returned to respond to criticism from the United States that accuses it of being slow to react.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said on Friday that his country had “great strategic success” in fighting the disease.
In his annual opening speech in parliament, Li said the immense task that remains to be faced with the consequences of the virus for the Chinese economy.
For the first time in its recent history, Beijing did not set a growth target for this year as it is unable to calculate the impact of the pandemic at this time.