Latin America is the world’s hot-spot for COVID-19 infections and deaths. Although the region holds just over 8% of the world’s population, as of the end of June it accounted for over 50% of registered daily deaths. Approximately 12% these deaths are in Mexico (over 600 per day) and 20% in Brazil (approximately 1,000 per day).

Compared to most countries in the region, Brazil and Mexico were delayed in implementing public health and physical distancing policy. In terms of population mobility, Mexico and Brazil are the worst performers and the least able to contain movement compared to pre-pandemic levels. The only country that has done worse is Nicaragua, where there is almost no physical distancing policy in place. By contrast, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador have been the most successful in decreasing population mobility.

Brazil and Mexico are also poor regional performers in terms of public health and physical distancing policy. Observatory data, accounting for state-by-state as well as federal policy, show Mexico and Brazil to outperform only Nicaragua, while under performing compared to all other countries with available data from the region. Although data for the other countries are national-level, sourced from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, the gaps are sufficiently wide to make it clear that Brazil and Mexico are performing relatively poorly on any measure.

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The University of Miami´s COVID-19 Policy Observatory for Latin America presents up-to-date, over-time, state and national data on the public health policies adopted by governments to curb the pandemic, focusing on Mexico and Brazil.

The Observatory is a project led by the University of Miami through its Institute for Advanced Studies of the Americas, College of Arts and Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, and School of Communication in close collaboration with a growing number of think tanks and universities from across the Americas, including CIDE and Tómatelo a Pecho in Mexico.