More than 1 million people have died from COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean as the pandemic worsens in the region, which now has the world’s highest per capita death rate.
Along with India, South America is the only area of the world where new infections are very much on the rise, Reuters reported Saturday.
During the the past month, 31 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the world have been in Latin America and the Caribbean, which includes less than 10 percent of the world’s population.
Doctors and epidemiologists blamed in part government leaders who were ill-prepared for the virus and then handled the crisis poorly, sometimes downplaying its seriousness, Reuters said.
“Instead of preparing for the pandemic, we minimized the disease, saying the tropical heat would deactivate the virus,” said Dr. Francisco Moreno Sanchez, head of the COVID-19 program at one of Mexico’s main hospitals and a critic of the government’s vaccination plan.
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a vaccine and lockdown skeptic, is under investigation by a parliamentary commission for his lax reaction to the pandemic. Bolsonaro did not buy vaccines in time and failed to come up with an effective strategy to fight the spread of the disease, Reuters said.
Brazil remains the third hardest-hit country in the world in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases, behind only India and the United States. It has the highest death toll in the region, followed by Mexico and Colombia, which combined represent about 74 percent of all the deaths Latin America.