The World Health Organisation’s director for the Americas has warned that the coronavirus epidemic is accelerating in the region and it’s expected that Brazil’s death toll will reach 125,000 by early August.
The Americas have swiftly taken over the rest of the world when it comes to confirmed infections in the global coronavirus pandemic, with the United States occupying top-spot for the worst affected region with over 1.6 million infections and more than 98,000 deaths, while Brazil has now become the second worst affected region with over 391,000 infections and more than 25,000 deaths, which is expected to increase by 400% between now and early August.
Other countries, including Peru (more than 129,000 cases and 3,600 deaths), Chile (76,900 cases and 806 deaths) are experiencing massive surges in infections of the coronavirus, making Latin America the new epicentre for the outbreak, according to Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the Americas and head of the Pan American Health Organisation.
“Our region has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Etienne said, according to Al Jazeera. “Both Peru and Chile are also reporting a high incidence, a sign that transmission is still accelerating in these countries.”
Brazil now also has the highest death rate in the world, with President Jair Bolsonaro an active opponent of lockdown measures. Last week it reported its record increase in infections for a seven day period. It is home to a population of 209 million people.
Elsewhere, in Chile, it is only the capital of Santiago that has enforced lockdown measures. Last week, Peru extended its nationwide lockdown measures until the end of June. South America’s spike in infections also comes at a time where several of the world’s worst affected nations are starting to lift some of their restrictions.