South America has so far been spared the worst of the coronavirus. But experts warn that a large-scale outbreak in the region is bound to happen — and when it does, it will roil fragile countries already struggling to care for their people.
Since the continent’s first official case was confirmed in Brazil on February 26, South America has seen more than 83,000 cases and nearly 4,000 deaths as of April 20. Those numbers are lower than in much of the world.
There are a couple of good reasons for that: First, several governments in the region took swift action to lock down their countries within just a few weeks of identifying their first cases of coronavirus. Second, international travel to much of the region isn’t extensive, which means the virus was slower to spread from hot spots like China and Europe to many parts of the continent.
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