Latin America surpasses Europe, US in daily COVID-19 infections, health group says

Latin America surpasses Europe, US in daily COVID-19 infections, health group says
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Latin America has exceeded Europe and the U.S. in its daily number of reported COVID-19 cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced at a press briefing Tuesday.

Director of PAHO Carissa Etienne said the region "has become the epicenter of the COVID pandemic," adding that over 2.4 million cases and more than 143,000 fatalities have been recorded in all of the Americas, CNN reported.

Peru and Chile rank as two of the countries most impacted by the coronavirus, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data, with the world's highest infection rates per capita over a seven-day moving average.

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PAHO is also closely eyeing the situation in Brazil, where rising numbers of cases recently made for "the highest for a seven-day period since the outbreak began," Etienne said.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been sharply criticized for his response to the pandemic, including undermining preventative measures from local leaders and dismissing the coronavirus as a "little flu."

"The behavior of President Bolsonaro is the wrong behavior. He is against social isolation. He's against orientation of the science," Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria told CNN.

The U.S. plans to impose a travel ban at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Tuesday on anyone arriving from Brazil or anyone who has visited the country within the last 14 days.

"Now is the time to stay strong, to remain vigilant, and to aggressively implement proven public health measures," Etienne said.

"We have learned from other regions, we have learned what works and what doesn't, and we must continue to apply this knowledge to our context," she added.