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Coronavirus shows no signs of slowing down in the Americas, WHO official says

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Story at a glance

  • Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. are experiencing worsening coronavirus outbreaks.
  • Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), warned that 3 out of 10 people in the Americas are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications because of underlying health issues.
  • The health official said the coronavirus continues to spread in the Amazon basin, with countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru seeing significant surges in cases.

The coronavirus pandemic in the Americas is showing no signs of “slowing down,” the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Tuesday citing record-high numbers of new cases for some countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down in our region,” Carissa Etienne, the director of PAHO, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), said during a virtual briefing Tuesday. 


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“During the last week, there were almost 900,000 new cases and nearly 22,000 deaths reported in our region—most of these within Brazil, Mexico and the United States,” she said. 


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The U.S. currently leads the world in the number of cases and deaths, with more than 3.9 million confirmed cases and more than 142,000 fatalities. Brazil has the second highest number of cases and deaths globally. The health official said the coronavirus continues to spread in the Amazon basin, with countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru seeing significant surges in cases. 

Etienne warned that 3 out of 10 people, or nearly 325 million people, in the Americas are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications because of underlying health issues. 

“Among people with co-morbidities in the Americas, there are 43 million at high risk, which means they would require hospitalization due to their underlying health conditions,” she said. “The impact of co-morbidities on the spread of the virus should be a clarion call to every country in the Americas: use data to tailor your response, and make health your top priority.” 

Etienne noted while most countries in North America are seeing cases increase, Canada has been able to flatten its curve, while several Caribbean countries have put in place effective travel restrictions to mitigate clusters of outbreaks and are not able to resume nonessential travel.


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