Latin America

How the Omicron crisis unfolds in Latin America

Vaccines can't tame Omicron alone, and the new surge of Covid infections presents Latin America with many risks — for health and the economy

omicron latin america
Bus in Buenos Aires. Photo: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

After a catastrophic second wave turned South America into the world’s epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the region had enjoyed a seemingly miraculous reversal of fortunes last year. Boasting the world’s highest vaccination rates, new Covid-19 infections and deaths plunged to the lowest levels seen since the pandemic began. Roughly 77 percent of South America’s population has taken at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine — with 65 percent being fully immunized. 

Local economies – which are largely dependent on the informal sector and, therefore, in-person interactions – had hoped a stellar vaccine rollout would signal a...

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