There is, however, a crucial difference: Poorer countries are starting to reopen while new infections and deaths are growing, rather than slowing. Health experts say the timing risks an explosive rise in cases and deaths in crowded slums across the developing world.

“The number of people who could eventually die in places like Brazil and the rest of South America could far exceed what we’re seeing in the U.S.,” said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Already, daily death tolls are surging across the developing world, and in some cases now rival the worst days of the pandemic in Europe. Brazil has joined the U.S. as the only countries where more than 1,000 people are regularly dying each day from the pandemic. Mexico now ranks third in the tally of daily deaths behind the U.S. and Brazil and ahead of the U.K…

Across swaths of the developing world, however, containment measures haven’t reversed the epidemic’s course, but merely slowed the pace of growth. And as countries prepare to open up, the virus has grown to a point where it threatens to overwhelm their populations.