Coronavirus in Peru

By Jordyn Roskind, Hadley Hart, and Avery Smith

Peru forced the earliest and strictest lockdown in Latin America in order to stop and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown started on March 16th, as cases were rising rapidly. The country's borders shut down and curfews were put into place. As of June 30th, 9,600 people died in Peru from the deadly virus. The country has one of the world’s highest excess death rates, and even prior to the corona virus there were an atrocious number of deaths. It is proven that the number of deaths in Peru is 87% higher than it would normally be as a result of the coronavirus. There were around two to three thousand deaths in Peru before the virus began, and after the outbreak that number rose to well over 5,000. The healthcare system in Peru was extremely unprepared in the face of so many deaths, but there are also many other contributing factors as to why Peru is having a difficult time enclosing the outbreak.

There are many components as to why Peru is struggling to maintain the coronavirus. For example, many households in Peru are not equipped to stock up on food and other resources (most of them do not have refrigerators), so people have to go to markets daily, which in turn results in more exposure to the virus. The markets were the main source of contagion, the president said, “"We had markets with 40, 50, 80% of sellers infected.” The economy in Peru is also a large factor when considering these struggles. For example, Peruvains use public transport to work, and a big portion of their work is in the informal sector, meaning their jobs are unpredictable and hard to maintain social distancing. Another factor is the banks which have proved to contribute significantly in the spread of infection. For most countries the banks were not such an issue, but in Peru where only 38% of the adults have a bank account digital payments are virtually impossible, so banks need to remain fully functional throughout the lockdown. Banks included, social distancing has been a continuous issue in Peru since many of the households where citizens live are overcrowded and in public there is a lack of enforcement on social distancing. As Mr. Arellano says, moving forward, it is very much needed to "educate on distancing amongst citizens and improve marketing, transportation, and other systems to facilitate distancing".

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