Mikhael G. Iglesias L. – MA Candidate at NYU CLACS
In the sixth month of the current health crisis caused by COVID-19, in which much of the world was caught off guard, Latin America and the Caribbean have become a focal point for infections. Historic inequality in access to healthcare services, high poverty rates and informal economies, marginalization of indigenous and afro-descendant communities, the new rise of populism, and lagging infrastructures are some of the biggest challenges for the region in facing the pandemic. In countries such as Haiti with precarious healthcare conditions or in Peru which is now the country in the region with the highest death toll per million inhabitants, this pandemic is critical. In Uruguay and Costa Rica responses seem to be having a positive effect. In this series of articles for the CLACS Blog, we will focus on the implications of COVID-19 in the region.
What is known?
COVID-19 continues to generate more questions than answers that challenge societies and their contingency strategies. So far, the scientific community has determined that COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. There have been other types of coronavirus before such as SARS in 2002 with the outbreak epicenter in China or MERS in 2012 with an outbreak epicenter in the Middle East. COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Older adults have a major risk of developing more serious complications from COVID-19; as of July 18, around 80% of the deaths in the US due to Covid-19 have been 65 years or older. As the virus is spreading easily between people, measures such as social distancing and quarantines have been the main tools for preventing virus transmission while the world waits for a vaccine.
On Thursday, March 22nd CLACS will be hosting two events that will bring a spotlight on Brazil. First at 12:30pm, Professor Marcos Cueto (Casa de Oswaldo Cruz and Visiting Scholar at the the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University) will be presenting a lecture titled “Brazil, Aids, and Global Health, 1996-2008.” In 1996, Brazil was the first country in the world to provide full and free access to antiretrovirals as part of a broad prevention and treatment health program. This decision was challenged by powerful pharmaceutical companies. Cueto’s presentation will discuss the meanings and vicissitudes of universal access to antiretrovirals in global health at the turn of the 21st century and will be followed by a Q&A session with the scholar.
The same evening at 6pm, we will be hosting Um Filme de Dança, a film directed and produced by Carmen Luz. The film is a pioneering documentary on the history of Brazilian dance. Filmed in four major Brazilian cities and in New York, this documentary shows the personal histories, philosophies and work of some of the most active black creators of dance in Brazil. It celebrates the perseverance of black dancers and choreographers of different generations and the black body’s dominion over its own dance. Organized by NYU Cinema Studies PhD candidate Léonardo Cortana, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Brazilian filmmaker Carmen Luz, Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD candidate Maria Fantinato, and performer Autumn Knight. This event is co-sponsored with the NYU Institute of African American Affairs, NYU Leadership Initiative and NYU Cinema Studies.