LatAm Covid-19 cases, death toll inch closer to Europe’s

International Desk, July 4 (efe-epa).- Latina America is inching closer to the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in Europe, in an indication that the region could be a new hotspot of the deadly new coronavirus.

According to John Hopkins University tracker, Latin America has reported more than 2.73 million Covid-19 cases so far, led by Brazil with 1.54 million infections.

Europe, according to the recently updated figures of the World Health Organization, has registered a little over 2.74 cases.

The dynamics, however, indicate that Latin America will surpass the European continent in the number of Covid-19 infections in a few days.

From Mexico to Argentina, the disease has claimed 117,280 lives. And from Portugal to Russia, the number of deaths stands at 198,945 but with a decreasing tendency, particularly in countries such as Spain and Italy.

Until Friday, Brazil had reported 63,250 deaths.

Latin America’s 2.73 figure is also moving closer to the 2.78 infections in the United States, which is commemorating its 244th Independence Day on Sunday. The independence day celebrations, however, could lead to a new wave of Covid-19 cases. The US currently reports an average of 50,000 cases daily.

The fourth of July celebrations in the US are dampened with the challenges of fighting the virus which has claimed 129,275 lives and could claim even more in face of lack of social distancing measures.

Some authorities, however, have expressed concerns.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser urged the people in the capital to maintain social distancing and use masks amid the festivities in the District of Colombia.

The Covid-19 has not given any respite and the authorities have warned that the number of infections in the states of Arizona, Florida, and Texas among others could go up.

The fight against the novel coronavirus in the Latin American continent has several challenges, including testing.

Marcos Espinal, chief of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis at the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), stressed on the need to do away with the idea that the country which reports more cases was managing it the worst.

Espinal reiterated on the excellent testing programs in countries such as El Salvador and Panama.

Chile, the country with the seventh-highest number of cases in the world with more than 280,000 infections and 5,900 deaths, is leading in the region with more than 1.1 million tests, although in the last few days the number has seen a dip from a daily average of 20,000 to 12,000.

Amid the coronavirus crisis in the country, the Nicaraguan government announced that some 2,800 activities involving large crowds will take place across several cities over the weekend.

The activities, which will be safeguarded by the police, were announced on Friday by Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo.

Medical guild and human rights organizations have criticized President Daniel Ortega’s government for carrying out similar activities every weekend, in violation of the WHO recommendations.

On Friday, the government in Guatemala confirmed that the health ministry had spent only 8.5 percent of the total budget allotted for the pandemic even after 119 days of the state of emergency declared by the Congress.

Of the $208 million assigned, the entity has not been able to execute the approved budget for the Covid-19 treatment, with some 91.5 percent of the money not being used despite the growing crisis and several complaints by medical personnel and patients over lack of equipment, space, and medicines.

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