PAHO: Covid19 still rising in Americas

Image courtesy CDC
Image courtesy CDC

Covid19 cases in the Americas increased 10.4 per cent last week from the previous week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

Dr Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, said in a webinar on Wedensday that the region had reported 1, 087,390 new infections and 4,155 deaths.

Etienne said the spread of other respiratory viruses, such as flu, monkeypox and acute childhood hepatitis, is also increasing in the region. She asked regional countries to keep close watch on these diseases.

Etienne explained the cases in the region have increased over the last six weeks and the Caribbean and Atlantic islands are the only ones that have not seen increases.

PAHO warned that many places could face the double threat of a sudden increase in flu along with an increase in covid19 cases.

"This will put healthcare workers, the elderly and pregnant women at additional risk," she said.

The increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, heavy rains and floods in many parts of the Americas adds to the pressure on health services in the region.

Etienne said this year more storms are expected than the average of previous years, especially in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

"This is worrying, as it only takes one massive storm to destroy people's livelihoods, cripple our health systems and lead to the loss of countless lives. We have to prepare early so we're not caught off guard."

Marcos Espinal, acting deputy director of PAHO, said the sudden appearance of monkeypox "in non-endemic countries in a few weeks is something quite unusual," but emphasised that although there are indications that the outbreak can be contained, "rapid measures must be taken before the virus establishes itself in non-endemic areas.”

Likewise, he said, "The risk to the general public remains low at this time, but we must be vigilant and vigilant."

He said PAHO is working on the use and availability of vaccines.


"PAHO: Covid19 still rising in Americas"

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