80.6 F
Washington D.C.
Friday, June 18, 2021
Advertisement

Covid Is Surging In Chile Despite High Vaccination Rates — Here’s Why The U.S. Should Take Notice

Must Read


Topline

Chile has vaccinated a larger share of its citizens against the coronavirus than almost any other nation, yet the Latin American country is still grappling with a brutal Covid-19 surge, a trend local experts have blamed on relaxed social distancing rules.

Key Facts

Chile has averaged 6,900 new coronavirus cases per day in the last week, and the country reported 8,112 new infections on Friday, a yearlong record after more than six weeks of rising case counts, according to government data.

Hospitalizations and deaths have also steadily increased in recent months, though the daily death toll is still well below its June 2020 peak.

That’s despite Chile’s status as a worldwide leader in vaccinations: The country has administered about 59 doses per 100 people, a higher rate than the United States (50) or the United Kingdom (56), making Chile the fourth most heavily vaccinated country in the world according to data compiled by the New York Times.

Some observers say this contradiction is due to mixed messaging: The country loosened restrictions and allowed domestic travel earlier this year, causing some people to let their guard down and leave their homes, locals told the Times and NPR.

Plus, Chile has given at least one vaccine dose to about 37% of its population, a strong vaccination rate but nowhere near the 70% or more that most scientists believe is necessary to reach herd immunity and prevent the virus from spreading freely.

Chile has also spotted contagious new coronavirus variants first discovered in Brazil and the United Kingdom, though their impact in the country is unclear.

Tangent

Chile reimposed lockdowns across much of the country starting two weeks ago, an effort to get infections under control and ease the pressure on overburdened hospitals.

Big Number

7.1 million. That’s the number of Chileans who have received at least one vaccine dose. Chile signed early deals with drugmakers like Pfizer and China-based CanSino and Sinovac, allowing it to vaccinate more of its residents than any other Latin American country.

Key Background

Wealthy countries have treated a rapid coronavirus vaccination campaign as a ticket out of the economic mire and public health peril wrought by the pandemic. New cases have dropped dramatically in some heavily vaccinated places like Israel and the United Kingdom, an optimistic sign. But some public health experts have interpreted Chile’s uptick as proof that cases can still spike if social distancing measures are relaxed too quickly.

Crucial Quote

“This is the reason we want to do things in a steady way,” U.K. Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty said Monday. “The assumption that just because you vaccinate lots of people, then the problem goes away: I think Chile is quite a good corrective to that.”

Further Reading

How Chile’s vaccination push outpaced the rest of the Western Hemisphere (Washington Post)

Despite Chile’s Speedy Covid-19 Vaccination Drive, Cases Soar (New York Times)

- Advertisement -spot_img

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest News

Weekend Open Thread – Corporette.com

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.Finding a great summer hat can be a challenge. If you’re...
- Advertisement -spot_img

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -spot_img
Translate »