Day laborers who lack adequate health care and housing are particularly vulnerable, as cases rise across the Americas.
By David Waldstein
As the coronavirus spreads across Latin America and the Caribbean, public health officials are flagging outbreaks cropping up in several border regions, particularly the one between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Pan American Health Organization said on Tuesday that it was focusing its efforts in these rural frontier areas, where populations are on the move and medical facilities are lacking. Indigenous people and migrants, vulnerable under normal circumstances, face even greater risks now.
“The increase of transmission in these areas is cause for serious concern and immediate action,” Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the P.A.H.O., said.
In addition to the Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Dr. Etienne cited spikes in other border areas, including the one between Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the Amazon region that Brazil shares with its neighbors.
The Dominican Republic has seen a large outbreak of the coronavirus with 23,686 total cases, according to a New York Times database, and 615 deaths. Haiti has reported 4,441 cases and 76 deaths.
Many Haitians live and work in the Dominican Republic, but after the outbreak there, thousands lost their jobs and moved back to Haiti. Some may have brought the virus with them. Continue reading