Responses to COVID-19 differ in Miami, Colombia and Nicaragua (includes video story)

As the end of summer nears, it seems COVID-19 isn’t going away. The number of new cases in the United States remains in the tens of thousands every day while the country tries to reopen. In Latin America, which the United Nations considers an “intense zone” for transmission of the virus, cases are escalating.

Colombia has restricted movement of its citizens based on gender and the last digit of their IDs. If it ends in an even number, they’re allowed to go out on even days and vice versa for odd numbers.

In contrast, Nicaragua has generally refused to go under lockdown and there’s minimal effort to clean and disinfect public places. There is much suspicion that the government is concealing the virus. 

“The fear and uncertainty overwhelms Nicaragua,” Dr. Javier Gutierrez, a Nicaraguan doctor, said recently. “Most of its population doesn’t have access to tests because they are only available if authorized by the Department of Health, so most of the people are treating themselves as they can.”

Miami has teetered between lockdown and opening because of a surge of positive cases and deaths. Social-distancing and masks are being enforced throughout the city, but lack of control is clear. 

“There’s no real sense of urgency from the local government or sense of control to establish a new order here,” says Danny Martinez, a Miami resident.