Coronavirus

Precarious housing a key factor in Covid-19 spread in Latin America

Access to basic public services in Latin America is shockingly low, and disadvantaged neighborhoods have presented much higher Covid-19 infection rates

brazil argentina housing
Homeless man on the street during a pandemic in Buenos Aires. Photo: LiAndStudio/Shutterstock

Late in February, when the first coronavirus cases were confirmed in Brazil and Argentina, the most affected demographics consisted of high-income families that brought the virus into the country after vacationing in Europe and Asia. As editor Euan Marshall explained at the time, Covid-19 entered Brazil as a disease of the jet-set elite.

But as Brazil tops the mark of 3 million confirmed cases — as well as reaching over 100,000 deaths — and with Argentina posting record numbers of new daily infections, the demographics of the pandemic have dramatically shifted. The contagion curve has spiked in lower-income areas, where...

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