Coronavirus could create a lockdown generation in Latin America if governments don’t act
Coronavirus has hit the healthcare systems and societies of the global south even harder than the rest of the world due to their already weak economies and high debt levels. Latin America is no exception, and has been particularly affected due to very high infection numbers. With more than 7.9 million cases and more than 300,000 deaths, the region has been described as the world’s worst hit region. That is why, according to the World Bank’s June assessment, the Latin American economy will contract 7.2% in 2020 as a whole.
What’s more, some of the promising, if modest, trends of the last two decades are being reversed by the pandemic. This was a region that was starting to reduce huge levels of inequality thanks to significant economic growth from the commodity boom that ended in 2013, as well as some innovative wage policies and social programmes introduced by progressive governments.
Within this context, younger people are being especially badly hit. School closures are hurting education and, as in many countries, job prospects for them are particularly bad. If the region cannot control the virus and kickstart its economy, we will see the growth of a “lockdown generation”, trapped in unemployment, informal jobs and in-work poverty.
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