If the current trend of the pandemic of coronavirus persists in America, it will take years before it can be controlled, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. The authorities also called on countries to share their surplus vaccines.
In the last week, almost 1.2 million new cases and more than 34,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the region. Four of the five countries with the highest mortality rates in the world are in America, highlighted the director of the OPS, Carissa Etienne, at a weekly press conference.
“If the current trend continues, the social, health and economic disparities in our region will continue to grow even more, and it will be years before we can control the virus in America.” She warned.
The number of infections is higher in many parts of the region than in any previous period of the pandemic, she said, and the emergence of new variants is increasing the traceability difficulties of the epidemic.
Only 10% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has been fully vaccinated and the situation is especially critical in the Caribbean and Central American nations.
The OPS thanked the United States, Spain and Canada for their commitments to donate millions of doses of vaccines or fund them, but said more help is still needed.
“We hope that other countries, particularly those with excess doses, and that financial institutions will follow in their footsteps to provide the support we need,” said Etienne. “Vaccine donations are essential in the short term”.
With a view to the start of the Copa América soccer tournament in Brazil on Sunday, the director of health emergencies of the OPS, Ciro Ugarte, said that nations that host mass events should consider postponing them if the risks of COVID-19 cannot be controlled.
While, Venezuela still owes $10 million in vaccine payments to the mechanism COVAX, said Ugarte.
Program supplies to the South American nation will not be immediately available due to high global demand, but the OPS wait to Venezuela and other nations in the region become a priority because they have not yet received any batch of vaccines from COVAX.
Colombia and Bolivia have been reporting an increase in deaths and cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks, while hospitals in Haiti report difficulties due to poor oxygen supplies, said the OPS.
Also, the OPS indicated that in many cities in Colombia the beds of intensive care units (ICU) have reached the occupancy limit.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.