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Doctors and nurses attend to COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Lima, Peru. Doctors and nurses attend to COVID-19 patients at the Guillermo Almenara hospital in Lima, Peru, May 22, 2020 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Why Even Peru’s Top-Notch Plans Failed to Stop the Coronavirus Pandemic

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Few governments acted more decisively to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic than Peru, whose president, Martin Vizcarra, mobilized the country’s resources even before the World Health Organization formally declared COVID-19 a pandemic. By most objective measures, Vizcarra did almost everything right. Most importantly, and in contrast to other leaders, he took action early, something that epidemiological models confirm is vital for preventing widespread contagion. And yet, tragically, Peru still stands as one of the world’s COVID-19 hotspots today, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in South America. Only Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has put on a grim and vaudevillian display of irresponsibility, has a higher caseload.

How is it possible that even after the government implemented the correct measures, Peruvians are dying in such large numbers and the infection is spreading at such shocking speed? As puzzling as the question seems, the answer is not that complicated. Poverty can simply overtake good governance. ...

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