Guayaquil

Ministerio de Salud de Ecuador

Ecuador's new health minister, Dr. Juan Carlos Zevallos, talks with WLRN's Latin America Report about the "horrifying" experience of trying to get his country's COVID-19 pandemic crisis under control. Calling Ecuador unprepared, he says, is "absolutely unfair."

Luis Perez / AP

No country in Latin America and the Caribbean has been hit as hard by the new coronavirus as Ecuador. Brazil, a far larger country, may have more COVID-19 cases; but Ecuador’s death toll is thought to be twice as high as Brazil’s. And no place in Ecuador has suffered as terribly as the port city of Guayaquil.

AP

Until this month, it looked like Latin America and the Caribbean might be spared the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the world saw the tragic images from Ecuador of a sudden and overwhelming number of deaths from the new coronavirus – of corpses lining the sidewalks in the port city of Guayaquil. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Brazil is doubling or tripling every week – and so are the number of deaths.

AP

Latin America and the Caribbean have so far avoided the scarier level of COVID-19 infection seen in Europe, Asia and the U.S. But the region’s numbers are starting to jump. And hemispheric health experts on Tuesday had a warning for one country in particular.