While the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region was hit later than some other hot spots by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become among the hardest hit regions in the world in terms of health outcomes after struggling to contain the spread of the virus. This was recently noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a special report that focused on the impact of the pandemic on the region.

With only 8.2 percent of the world population (640 million people), the financial institution said that the region had 36 percent of all deaths (369,000) by early October while adding that the economy suffered the largest recession on record.
Expounding further, the IMF said that the first case in Brazil was confirmed on February 25, and by late March, the country had had only 5000 cases. Since then, the Fund said that the region saw a long and steady climb in cases and deaths with peaks that appeared to have been reached only recently, in late August.
Guyana Standard understands that the region currently has a higher rate of new deaths per million people than the United States and the European Union. Further to this, it noted that South America and Mexico have been hit harder than Central America and the Caribbean. The financial institution said that the Caribbean has been the region with the lowest death toll, while adding that some islands have completely eradicated the epidemic although some that reopened to travel subsequently saw rebounds.

In terms of individual countries, the IMF said that the death toll per million has been highest in Peru, followed by Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico. It noted that official statistics are likely to understate cases and deaths, as testing is low in many countries, and “excess deaths” in a number of countries significantly exceed official COVID-19 deaths.


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