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Philip Reeves

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Bolivia's presidential election is tomorrow. And the atmosphere surrounding it may sound familiar - fears of voter fraud, worries about violence and a deeply polarized country, as NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Environmentalists in Brazil are mourning the death of a leading expert on uncontacted tribes in the Amazon, who was killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest.

Friends of Rieli Franciscato say he died inside the rainforest while on a mission to shield an isolated indigenous group from a possible hostile encounter with outsiders.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Peru's government has launched a campaign of emotional shock tactics to persuade its citizens to help stop the coronavirus from causing more death and misery in a country with one of Latin America's biggest outbreaks.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra acknowledges the campaign "may seem too harsh." Yet he says: "We are in a war. ... You have to call things as they are."

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All right. So life right now can seem like a crazy science fiction movie, yet there is a small town in Brazil where even stranger things are happening thanks to a cosmic event deep in the countryside. NPR's Philip Reeves has the story.

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Anti-government blockades in Bolivia have entered their second week amid escalating political tensions, violent confrontations and government allegations that protesters are causing deaths by stopping supplies from reaching coronavirus patients.

The protests are deepening the crisis facing a nation already struggling to cope with a pandemic which officials say has so far killed more than 3,700 people and infected more than 91,600.

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It's hard to delay presidential elections in the United States - yet in some countries, you can. In Bolivia, the authorities have repeatedly postponed elections, citing the coronavirus pandemic. NPR's Philip Reeves says that's triggered protests across the country.

Front-line health workers and senior clerics in Brazil are adding their voices to the chorus of alarm about President Jair Bolsonaro's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With more than 87,000 deaths and 2.4 million registered infections so far, Brazil has suffered more cases than any other country except the United States.

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The U.S. is leading the world in COVID-19 cases - more than 3 1/2 million. Other countries are seeing surges, too. India, for example, just hit a new record - a million cases. Here's virologist Shahid Jameel talking to India Today.

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Brazil's president has COVID-19. Jair Bolsonaro revealed his test results live on TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JAIR BOLSONARO: (Speaking Portuguese).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Portuguese).

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The number of people infected by the coronavirus in some of Brazil's poorest and most vulnerable neighborhoods could be 30 times higher than the officially registered count, according to Brazilian researchers.

Since the pandemic began, there has been intense concern about the virus's impact on these communities, including favelas where the population is predominantly poor and black.

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Brazil reported a record spike of daily coronavirus infections Thursday, as widespread criticism continues to dog President Jair Bolsonaro for playing down the outbreak. The country has confirmed more than 438,000 cases, the world's second-highest number after the United States.

The rise in cases comes as São Paulo, the state with the highest number of registered deaths, prepares to ease restrictions in some areas.

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COVID-19 is devastating Brazil. It's already killed more than 22,000 Brazilians. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, there's a particular concern about its impact in the Amazon rainforest.

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COVID-19 is causing mayhem across South America, except in Argentina. There's been little testing, but there is widespread agreement the government there has kept numbers down. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

(CHEERING)

Argentina is loosening the strict lockdown that helped secure one of the lowest death tolls from COVID-19 in South America.

Restrictions imposed more than seven weeks ago will remain in effect in and around the capital, Buenos Aires. The nation's borders and schools will stay closed, and public gatherings will still be banned. But Monday, the administration of President Alberto Fernández began allowing provincial mayors and governors to open up businesses and restore free movement if coronavirus case numbers remain low.

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