Patients in a Brazil field hospital

COVID-19 patients in a Brazilian field hospital. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: How Brazil Could Slow Its Coronavirus Outbreak

By Luisa Leme

Harvard University’s Marcia Castro explains how the country, now seen as the pandemic’s epicenter, could reverse course.

"When we start reading books about this pandemic it is going to be a story about leadership."

Castro notes that each country in Latin America has its own coronavirus story but that, in general, they are not able to apply the same social isolation policies used in places such as Europe or New York. Instead, solutions in Latin America must account for large numbers of people depending on informal jobs, unequal access to housing and clean water, or the kinds of conditions that lead to—for example—the collapse of the health system in Amazonas state capital Manaus. One key, per Castro? Detecting symptoms and contact tracing of infections to avoid further waves of COVID-19 as countries start to reopen their economies.

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Luisa Leme produced this episode. The music in this podcast was performed at Americas Society in New York. Learn more about upcoming concerts at