Watch CBS News

Latin America Feeling The Impact Of COVID-19

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Latin American countries are dealing with the growing number of coronavirus cases as the economies slow and health measures tighten.

Several Central and South American countries, including Chile and Argentina, have issued stay-at-home orders and that is impacting the earning power for those who rely heavily on the 'informal economy.'

A large percentage of the population, particularly in some of the poorer nations, depend on the income that is acquired from an economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government.

CBS4's Hank Tester spoke to Latin American expert, Florida International University professor Dr. Eduardo Gamarra about the current situation in the region.

Professor Gamarra says, "If you tell people to stay at home, they do not work and your economy comes to a standstill, but it is worse in Latin America where you have such a high percentage of the people who are living in the informal economy. These are people that have no formal income. They have no health care benefits. They have no unemployment benefits. They are outside of the formality of the economy."

"In Venezuela, 90% of the economy is informal. In Bolivia, it is about 80% and in Haiti, it is 90%. IN those countries, if those people are told to stay home the impact is very dramatic."

"If you do not let them out that means they won't be able to earn an income to feed themselves that day."

That reality certainly applies to Venezuela, where the economy has all but collapsed and where there is a high level of hunger.

The oil market has tanked and the health system in shambles.

The region's poor, for the most part, do not have savings and they have been told to stay at home which could lead to dire consequences.

Coronavirus Curfews In South Florida
Coronavirus, Pandemic, Quarantine, Social Distancing: All The Terms You Need To Know
Washing Your Hands Is Best Defense Against Coronavirus, Not A Facemask
Track The Spread Of The Coronavirus In Real Time
Think You Have Coronavirus? Call Florida's COVID-19 Hotline Before Going To Doctor Or ER


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.