Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America

Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America

Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America

Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America

“The situation is incredibly grave,” said Doctor Mauricio Diaz, who works in Leticia and described his hospital as “a parody” of a hospital. A few days ago, he said, four ventilators arrived. But the hospital’s wall outlets are broken, and “we haven’t been able to use them,” he said.

The degree of suffering endured by some nations was not inevitable, experts say, pointing to Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua for particularly poor leadership during the crisis.

In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega rejected measures adopted worldwide to curb the spread of the virus, saying that most Nicaraguans were too poor to not work under a shutdown. Schools and businesses remained open, though hundreds of doctors across the nation urged the government to acknowledge the virus was proliferating.

In open disregard of the risks, the government organized a rally, held in solidarity with countries going through the pandemic. It was dubbed “Love in the Time of Covid-19,” and was held while other nations ordered or urged their citizens to stay at home.

As the virus was tearing through Brazil and stirring widespread anger at Mr. Bolsonaro, the president, his administration made a decision that shocked health experts: It simply stopped reporting the total death toll. And while his health ministry was urging people to stay home, Mr. Bolsonaro encouraged mass demonstration and shook hands in public.

Mexico’s president, Mr. Lopez Obrador, also mocked the virus early on, continued to hug and kiss his supporters, and encouraged Mexicans to patronize restaurants until the end of March. Even his coronavirus czar, Mr. Lopez Gatell, claimed that the president’s “moral authority” would protect him from the virus, and until last month, he dismissed the utility of face masks.


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