Health authorities in Peru updated their official Covid-19 figures this week, pushing the total number of coronavirus casualties from less than 70,000 to over 180,000. This revised number gives Peru the world’s highest per capita coronavirus mortality rate: 541 per 100,000.
The list was headed by Hungary, with 304 deaths per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The government in Lima acted quickly when the pandemic broke early in 2020, putting its population on lockdown earlier than many European nations. But forced isolation can only work for so long in a country where 70 percent of workers are in unregistered jobs. Back in October, Peru became the first country in the world to reach 1,000 deaths per million people.
For the better part of the last year, South America has been the world’s biggest coronavirus hotbed. Still, inconsistent data suggests that the pandemic’s toll in the region is much greater than official figures suggest.
In June 2020, Chile’s then-Health Minister Jaime Mañalich lost his job after a scandal of under-reported deaths. Mexico also controversially revised its official coronavirus death numbers, though the government continues to use old tallies.