Ecuador’s biggest city, Guayaquil, was a pandemic hellscape of makeshift morgues, hundreds dying at home, bodies left in the street.
That was in March and April, when the country’s economic hub on the Pacific coast suffered as much as anywhere in the world from the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Guayaquil later stabilized, sending medical teams and equipment elsewhere in Ecuador and taking in virus patients from outside the city.
Guayaquil officials partly attribute the turnaround to a strict lockdown and the adaptability of a population that, through history, endured epidemics of malaria, yellow fever, dengue and bubonic plague in a place whose tropical climate, crowded neighborhoods and exposure to foreign travelers seemed geared for infection.
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