Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to climb in Latin America’s worst-affected countries, especially in Brazil and Mexico.
At least 572 deaths were registered in Brazil over the past 24 hours, health authorities said on Monday, taking the death toll to 101,049 in the world’s second-hardest hit nation by the virus.
The total number of cases in the country has surged past 3.35 million, including nearly 2.12 million recoveries.
In Mexico, the death toll of nearly 53,000 has had 292 additions over the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry. The number of coronavirus cases climbed by 4,376 to 480,278, ministry data showed.
Latin America has emerged as the epicentre of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with Peru, Colombia and Chile among the worst-affected nations.
Meanwhile, the spread of the virus is overwhelming hospitals in Brazil and crippling South America’s biggest economy, with millions out of work due to lockdowns and restrictions.
Last week, the country set a daily record for new coronavirus cases and related deaths.
Fatalities have been ticking upwards for five straight weeks as the virus spread into new regions, with daily deaths averaging more than 1,000.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 last month but has now recovered, has downplayed the gravity of the pandemic and strongly opposed lockdown restrictions imposed by local officials.
Public health experts have raised the alarm, saying that Brazil still has no coordinated plan to fight the pandemic, as many officials focus on “reopening”, which is likely to boost the spread of the disease and worsen the outbreak.
When it comes to deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Mexico is 13th worldwide, based on official data.
The death toll far exceeds the range of between 6,000 and 30,000 projected by the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in February.