‘It's a tsunami’: Covid-19 plunges Latin America back into poverty and violence

Years of social progress have been reversed by the virus, amid accusations that politicians have been fatally inept

As coronavirus galloped through Latin America in late April, the mayor of Manaus was in despair. “The outlook is dismal,” Arthur Virgílio admitted as gravediggers in the Amazon’s largest city piled coffins into muddy trenches, Brazil’s death toll hit 5,500, and its president, Jair Bolsonaro, responded with a shrug. “It’s obvious this won’t end well.”

Two months later, Virgílio’s nightmare has come true. Brazil’s death toll has risen to more than 60,000 – the second highest in the world after the United States – with some now predicting it could overtake the US, where 130,000 have died, by the end of July.

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