People wearing masks in São Paulo

People wearing masks in São Paulo. (AP)


VOA: Eric Farnsworth on COVID-19 in Latin America

"It's a really tragic situation across the region," said the AS/COA vice president.

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of AS/COA, spoke with Carol Castiel of Voice of America's Encounter podcast about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America.

"It's a really tragic situation across the region," Farnsworth said. "Brazil is clearly a hotspot and the pandemic doesn't seem to have peaked across the region."

Farnsworth cited the informality of the labor market and the inequality in Latin America as reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the region harder.

Farnsworth explained that one of the "stresses" that the pandemic has exposed in Latin America is the healthcare system. "The problem is that there aren’t a whole lot of people who can afford it, and for the rest, the healthcare delivery system really there are a lot of deficiencies," he explained.  

When asked about the impact the coronavirus could have on the political landscape in Latin America, Farnsworth said that the coronavirus is "amplifying preexisting conditions," explaining that, "Countries that have enjoyed strong democratic institutions will weather this okay," Farnsworth said. "Countries where authoritarianism has been a challenge or institutions are weak or that are divided and polarized...the coronavirus is amplifying those divisions as well. It's going to make it more difficult going forward."