This edition of the Social Panorama of Latin America examines the social impact of an unprecedented crisis. The effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have spread to all areas of human life, altering the way we interact, crippling economies and bringing about profound changes in societies. The pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the major structural gaps in the region, and “[t]imes are highly uncertain, with clarity on neither the route out of the crisis nor the speed at which it may be achieved” (ECLAC, 2020h, p. 13). It is clear that the costs of inequality have become unsustainable and that it is necessary to rebuild with equality and sustainability, aiming for the creation of a true welfare state, long overdue in the region (ECLAC, 2020h).

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