With increasing vaccination rates and the recent reopening of society to a new normal, many would claim that the coronavirus pandemic is “over.”
In realty, this is far from the truth.
The word “pandemic” implies a disease spread worldwide. While the United States is finally reaching levels of coronavirus cases that have not been seen since March 2020, many other countries are lacking sufficient access to vaccines and public health precautions to reach the same goals. In contrast, some countries are experiencing their worst rates of infection and death due to Covid-19 now. Peru has recently gained attention due to the country being the global leader in Covid-19 death rate.
At the start of 2021, Peru’s cases began to surge at an alarming rate. With the entire country only having 1,656 intensive care unit beds for its 32 million citizens1, it was evident that the nation was not prepared to undertake the formidable threat of the pandemic. Due to this lack of investment into health sectors within Peru, the nation simply did not have the resources and funds to appropriately address the rising cases in such a short period of time. Since January 2021, the situation in Peru has only worsened, with Peru now having the world’s worst death rate and approximately 180,764 deaths recorded due to Covid-192. The country remains in a lockdown and healthcare workers are currently experiencing an influx of patients with a lack of infrastructure to adequately care for them.
Underfunded public health is not the only reason Peru is currently facing such alarming conditions; a lack of vaccine access plays a major role. While nations, such as the United States, have been fortunate enough to establish vaccination clinics nationwide, thus leading to statistics such as 50% of Americans being vaccinated against the virus as well as having record low cases, many South American countries, including Peru, have struggled to obtain vaccines to distribute to their citizens. A mere 3% of Latin Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at this point2, indicating that Peru and other Latin American countries still have a long road until they can reach a point of “normalcy.” On a global level, it is imperative that equitable vaccine distribution occurs, because if certain regions of the world are unable to vaccinate their citizens it is possible that new mutations of the virus can develop that could be immune to the vaccine, therefore leading to another wave of the pandemic.
LIG Global has a personal connection to Peru, as we have conducted multiple medical mission trips to Cajamarca, Peru where we have established long-lasting connections with the Hospital Regional Docente de Cajamarca, the healthcare workers there, and the local community we have provided care to. Earlier this year, one of our colleagues from the Hospital Regional Docente de Cajamarca shed light to our team about his experiences on the frontlines in Peru during the pandemic, highlighting the severity of the coronavirus outbreaks in Peru. While we are unable to travel to Peru at this point, due to pandemic travel restrictions, LIG Global still maintains its connections with the Cajamarca region in hopes of providing assistance in the near future and learning from the courageous work of the healthcare workers on the frontlines in Peru during this perilous time. For those in our LIG Global family who feel moved to help ameliorate the suffering of those in Peru, we encourage you to donate to Help Peru, which has helped provide healthcare workers with protective equipment and health supplies, aid Amazonian communities in isolated regions of Peru during the pandemic, provide food to families who have been affected by the pandemic, and much more. Donate by accessing the link here: https://www.help-peru.org/?form=Donate.
While the battle against the coronavirus pandemic has been long and challenging, it is important to recognize that this has impacts on a global level, and that improvements in one region are contingent upon the conditions in other regions. By supporting those affected globally, we can not only prevent the suffering and loss of lives to Covid-19 but also work towards a safer, more rapid return to normalcy.
Barreto, Cesar, and Martin Mejia. “Peru’s intensive care units at capacity as virus cases surge.” AP, 11 January 2021, https://apnews.com/article/lima-coronavirus-pandemic-peru-847fb33c1f5c49ca70b66227f0435e2e. Accessed 3 June 2021.
Diaz, Laura, et al. “Peru more than doubles its official Covid-19 death toll, leaving it with world's worst death rate.” CNN, 1 June 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/americas/peru-covid-death-toll-intl/index.html. Accessed 3 June 2021.