The Americas proceed to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s too quickly for international locations in the area to loosen up public well being measures, World Health Organization officials warned on Wednesday.
Though the area is dwelling to lower than 13 % of the world’s inhabitants, the Americas reported 63 % of the world’s new known coronavirus cases in the first two months of 2022, Dr. Carissa Etienne stated at a news conference Wednesday. Dr. Etienne is the director of the Pan American Health Organization, a regional arm of the W.H.O.
Of the six million people known to have died round the world from Covid-19 to date, greater than 2.6 million have been in the Americas. Peru leads the world with the highest number of known deaths per 100,000 people over the course of the pandemic.
“This is a tragedy of enormous proportions, and its effects will be felt for years to come,” Dr. Etienne stated.
She famous that greater than 148 million folks in the area, which incorporates the United States, had contracted the virus in the two years since the W.H.O. formally declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and that many of them are prone to face long-term results on their well being.
Overall, new case experiences and deaths are declining in the Americas, as they’re globally, although Dr. Etienne famous that new cases have been nonetheless rising in the Caribbean. A lower in testing could also be masking the true prevalence of the virus in the Americas, she stated.
Dr. Etienne stated international locations in the area ought to stay cautious. “We all want the pandemic to be over, but optimism alone cannot control the virus,” she stated. “It is too soon to lower our guard.”
Though some international locations in the area, and plenty of elements of the United States, have been easing public well being measures just lately, “I’m afraid there’s no going back to normal at this time,” Dr. Etienne stated. “We need to continue with some of the measures that have proven to be effective, and in particular we need to ramp up the vaccination coverage.”
Some 248 million folks in Latin America and the Caribbean have but to obtain a single dose of vaccine, based on P.A.H.O., with huge disparities in vaccination charges from nation to nation. Of the greater than 40 international locations and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, simply 14 have managed to completely vaccinate 70 % of their residents or extra, based on P.A.H.O. knowledge; Haiti has totally vaccinated lower than 2 %.
“We must build on lessons from the past two years to prepare for quick action if a new variant emerges, or outbreaks happen among those who remain vulnerable,” Dr. Etienne stated.