What Will Be the Consequences of COVID-19 in Latin America?

April 16, 2020

In mid-April, Manuela Orjuela, Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics at the Mailman School of Public Health, and José Antonio Ocampo, Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), addressed the health and economic concerns of COVID-19 in Latin America.

During the “Epidemiological and Economic Consequences of COVID-19 in Latin America” webinar, hosted by Vicky Murillo, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at SIPA, Orjuela reviewed the strategies of quarantine to flatten the curve of the virus’s spread. While the region has had more time to observe and learn from countries that have more advanced cases of contagion, there are issues particular to Latin America that cause alarm, such as the fact that Latinos tend to live in more closed quarters, making it difficult to maintain distance, and some places have limited access to water, whereby hand washing and sanitation may be an issue.

In turn, Ocampo said that the spread of the virus accentuates the effects of inequality in the region, putting the spotlight on problems that were already present previous to the outbreak: slow economic growth, heavy dependence on the export of raw materials, and capital outflow, to name a few. He said that an “unprecedented” 25-40% of countries’ economic activity was interrupted and highlighted forecasts for Latin America of 3.8% negative growth by Goldman Sachs.

Use this link to see the webinar, sponsored by the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia.