What You Should Know
- 14 million +: The Biden administration announced it will send 14 million vaccine doses to Latin America and the Caribbean. The vaccines are the remaining portion of the 80 million-dose donation announced earlier this month and will be distributed through the COVAX mechanism. As well, the Biden administration will send an additional 14 million doses to countries experiencing surges, both in and outside of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- COVID-19 spikes: The Pan American Health Organization reported that there were over 1.1 million new COVID-19 cases and 31,000 new deaths in the Americas between June 9 and June 16.
- Vaccination: Less than one in ten people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated.
By the numbers
- Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Chile (113) #6 worldwide, Uruguay (102) #11 worldwide, Dominican Republic (67) #39 worldwide, Barbados (55) #48 worldwide, Cuba (43) #58 worldwide, Costa Rica (43) #59 worldwide, Brazil (42) #60 worldwide, Argentina (40) #61 worldwide, Guyana (40) #62 worldwide, El Salvador (39) #63 worldwide, Panama (34) #67 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com
Health + Innovation
- New Variant: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a new variant, Lambda, that was detected in Peru accounts for 81 percent of the cases in the country. The variant has been detected in 29 countries, including Chile, where it accounts for 32 percent of cases.
- Brazil: On June 19, Brazil surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths. Over the past week, the country averaged 2,000 deaths per day.
- Cuba: The government announced its Abdala and Soberana vaccines had proved 92 and 62 percent effective, respectively. The vaccines are expected to receive emergency authorization by local regulators. Many Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Argentina, Jamaica, Mexico, and Venezuela, have expressed interest in purchasing Cuban vaccines.
- Uruguay: Almost seven in ten adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. With the region’s second-highest immunization rate (behind Chile), Uruguay donated 12,000 AstraZeneca doses to Paraguay.
- Colombia: The country surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, becoming the 10th country in the world to pass the grim milestone.
Economies in Focus
- Caribbean Airlines recorded a $25.7 million loss in Q1, and a 75 percent decline in revenue compared to Q1 2020. Because operations will need to cater to reduced demand after opening borders, the carrier plans to shed 25 percent of its staff and store aircrafts.
- On June 21, Brazil’s real jumped 1 percent after a survey of economists forecast Brazilian growth (5 percent), inflation (5.9 percent), and interest rates (6.5 percent) in 2021 would reach new highs. The central bank signaled that it could quicken the pace of tightening.
- The UNDP’s 2021 Regional Human Development Report posits that Latin America will be “trapped” between high inequality and low economic growth until governments implement comprehensive policies that improve and universalize the population’s social protection.
- The IMF’s latest working paper on COVID-19 in Latin America says that the ongoing COVID waves threaten regional economies. The paper studied the stringency of lockdown measures and death rates to see which had a greater economic impact. It concluded that the impact of lockdowns was quantitatively more severe.
- A joint ECLAC-ILO analysis highlights that the impacts of COVID-19 could be the cause of an increase in child labor with over 300,000 children and adolescents being obliged to work.
- According to a new World Bank report, the pandemic-induced economic crisis has forced many workers into the informal labor market across LAC and predicts that the current crisis could cause up to a 4 percent contraction in formal employment
Social Transformations: Addressing the Digital Divide in Chile
- According to a survey jointly conducted by the Ibero-American Observatory of Digital Communications and Subtel, the pandemic has worsened the digital divide in Chile, with women and low-income families finding it extremely difficult to access education and online government services.
- To bridge the digital divide gap, Chile is launching a series of initiatives worth more than $2 billion. These initiatives will generate digital connectivity directly to homes through the Fibra Óptica Nacional, Fibra Óptica Austral, and Última Milla.
- All three fiber optic networks are expected to double the length of existing fiber optic cables in the country.