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A Peruvian COVID victim is buried in Lima, June 1. Peru is running out of cemetery space. Photo: Angela Ponce/Getty Images

Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Peru currently have some of the highest coronavirus infection and death rates per capita in the world.

Why it matters: Vaccine access has been uneven in the region, which has mostly depended on Russian and Chinese vaccines. Just under 20% of the area’s population has been immunized.

  • Officials also acknowledge a lack of PCR tests and an undercount of COVID-related deaths.
  • Economic circumstances, like living day to day and a lack of stimulus checks like those in the U.S., have meant many Latin Americans must still leave home to work.

Between the lines: Despite the high number of COVID cases, Brazil is set to host the Copa América tournament in two weeks.

  • “I regret the deaths, but we have to live,” said Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, about hosting the tournament.
  • Brazil is averaging around 2,000 lives lost to coronavirus daily. The variants first detected in Brazil, now named Gamma and Zeta, have torn through South America.

Driving the news: Peru revised its fatality figures upward this week, almost tripling the previous number. It now has the highest global per capita death rate.

  • The country will hold presidential elections this Sunday; candidates are neck and neck in polls.
  • Coronavirus has barely made a blip in the campaigns, which are more focused on socioeconomic inequalities and corruption.

Go deeper: Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines

Go deeper

Sep 10, 2021 - Health

FDA "will follow the science" to approve COVID vaccine for kids under 12

A nurse gives a boy a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FDA said on Friday that it is "working around the clock" to support the process of making the coronavirus vaccine available for children under the age of 12.

Why it matters: The number of children getting hospitalized due to the virus is increasing, with some infectious disease doctors worrying that the Delta variant could be causing more serious illness in kids.

Sep 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former FDA chief: U.S. has to continue to "chip away" at new vaccinations

Screenshot: Axios

The U.S. will have to find new ways to get unvaccinated Americans inoculated against the coronavirus to curb the pandemic, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during an Axios virtual event on Friday.

Why it matters: President Biden announced several efforts to boost new vaccinations, including requiring more than 80 million Americans working in the private sector to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or produce a negative test result at least once a week.

Education Department investigating Florida over mask mandate ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The Education Department announced Friday that it is investigating Florida over its ban on mask mandates.

Why it matters: The investigation, which said the ban could discriminate against students with disabilities or underlying medical conditions, is the latest development in both the legal back-and-forth over masks in Florida schools and between the Biden administration and GOP-led states over mask mandates.