Practically no government, institution or community has remained indifferent to the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has been pointed out in many places as a 'disaster'. For this reason, REDER has considered appropriate to dedicate a brief but necessary reflection on the meaning of and lessons to be learned from this pandemic in the context of Latin American studies on disaster risk reduction and prevention. The authors argue that the pandemic has exposed the structural inequalities that shape the uneven impacts among different social groups. According to the authors, five aspects need to be highlighted: the under-recorded impacts of the crisis; differentiation between 'similar' protection measures from 'egalitarian' protection; how to prevent stigmatization; design and implementation of responses based on a human rights approach to habitat; and time to act addressing the postponed development challenges. Finally, the authors look at the differences between the existing interpretative frameworks in the management of public health emergencies and in that of socio-natural risks. These could guide research processes that enable a better understanding of the dynamics and risk factors in the future, and therefore inform transformative decision-making.