Lives Versus Livelihoods: The Epidemiological, Social, And Economic Impact Of COVID-19 In Latin America And The Caribbean
Filippini, Eduardo L.
López Osornio, Alejandro L.
Bardach, Ariel L.
Pichon‐Riviere, Andrés L.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Latin American and Caribbean countries implemented stringent public health and social measures that disrupted economic and social activities. This study used an integrated model to evaluate the epidemiological, economic, and social trade-offs in Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, and Mexico throughout 2021. Argentina and Mexico displayed a higher gross domestic product (GDP) loss and lower deaths per million compared with Brazil. The magnitude of the trade-offs differed across countries. Reducing GDP loss at the margin by 1 percent would have increased daily deaths by 0.5 per million in Argentina but only 0.3 per million in Brazil. We observed an increase in poverty rates related to the stringency of public health and social measures but no significant income-loss differences by sex. Our results indicate that the economic impact of COVID-19 was uneven across countries as a result of different pandemic trajectories, public health and social measures, and vaccination uptake, as well as socioeconomic differences and fiscal responses. Policy makers need to be informed about the trade-offs to make strategic decisions to save lives and livelihoods.