The Center for Economic and Policy Research has launched a new COVID-19 data tracker on its Americas Blog, providing maps of the region with updated numbers of confirmed cases and deaths per 1,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean. The tracker also includes a line graph that uses a log scale to compare the increase in confirmed cases over time across countries with different population sizes. The tracker uses official data, which is dependent on testing rates that vary greatly among the different countries in the region.
CEPR analysts are providing more context to these numbers through posts on The Americas Blog that look at the effects of COVID-19 in countries throughout the region as well as policy responses to the pandemic.
“Governments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have started to adopt myriad policies in response, focused on both public health as well as the economy,” a post explaining the tracker states. “These measures, however, have been disparate, uneven and heterogeneous, with countries implementing stringent measures of social distancing, while others have been slower to enforce compulsory stay-at-home directives for fear of hurting the economy. In some national contexts, these conflicting visions of what is to be done between different political actors and levels of government have created political crises on top of the sanitary and economic ones.”
Some countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic will be limited by resource constraints: “Haiti only has an estimated 124 ICU beds and 64 ventilators for a population of more than 11 million,” Jake Johnston and Kira Paulemon noted in a post at the end of March. “There has, however, only been limited local testing,” they also observed.
Brazil so far has had the highest number of reported cases of COVID-19, although the “actual number of cases is likely many times greater, given that the current rate of testing for COVID-19 in Brazil is still very low,” as CEPR Director of International Policy Alex Main recently wrote.
Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian government recently reported 5,700 excess deaths above the normal average in Guayas province during the first 15 days of April. If these are all due to COVID-19, “Ecuador would be the country with, by far, the highest COVID-19 per capita death toll on the planet over this period,” as CEPR Senior Policy Analyst Guillaume Long has written.
CEPR analysts will continue to examine the course of the pandemic in various LAC countries in more detail; meanwhile, the COVID-19 tracker will be updated on a regular basis with the latest official data.