On Sunday, Chile overtook Italy as the country with the eighth-most cases in the world. A lot of the rise seems to be the result of the country trying to reopen. Many of Chile’s underserved community is unable to stay home and has had to find ways to work in order to make money again. Officials have also been criticized for missteps such as failing to effectively keep up with contact tracing and isolating the sick while sending mixed messages to the public about who the virus could affect and how much capacity hospitals had to treat patients.
Peru has slightly more cases than Chile, and they’re both topped by Brazil in terms of areas that are struggling most with the coronavirus. Still, Peru and Chile especially haven’t been getting the attention countries like Italy and Spain did early on, and they’re still grappling with ways to not only mitigate the spread but also to deal with the grim reality of the dead. The Associated Press reported that funeral parlors have ramped up their casket production and rolled out cheaper, plain box “COVID” caskets to keep up with how rapidly people are dying.
Unfortunately, the virus shows no signs of stopping in Latin America any time soon. Difficult conditions, economic instability, and even government corruption continue to exacerbate the situation and result in devastating outcomes for the region.
Correction, June 23 at 2:58 p.m. ET: This piece has been updated to include the former health minister’s correct name and reflect inconsistencies in Chile’s coronavirus tracking.