South America was the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic early this year. Experts are trying to find out why new infections and deaths are falling so fast.

By Ernesto Londoño, Daniel Politi and Flávia Milhorance

Just a few weeks ago, Covid-19 was spreading with alarming ease across a cluster of nations in South America, overwhelming hospital systems and killing thousands of people daily.

Suddenly, the region that had been the epicenter of the pandemic is breathing a sigh of relief.

New infections have fallen sharply in nearly every nation in South America as vaccination rates have ramped up. The reprieve has been so sharp and fast, even as the Delta variant wreaks havoc elsewhere in the world, that experts can’t quite explain it.

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