The region is experiencing a surge in deaths, despite an overall decline in cases. The number of registered deaths is now 202 people per hour.
Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director, warned that the relaxation of containment measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a worrying scenario with the new Omicron variant spreading quickly throughout the region.
COVID-19 infections turned 31% this week, however, deaths are still up 5.6%. Many deaths in the latest surge occurred among those yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 spread can be prevented. There can be no room for complacency around mask-wearing, travel, and indoor gatherings with too many lives being lost.
The Doctor stressed the importance of countries implementing public health measures quickly to face the challenge posed by the surge in question. She said that ensuring a higher rate of vaccinated people is a first-order task in the current context.
To guarantee a more equitable access to vaccines, PAHO's Revolving Fund delivered 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in coordination with COVAX.
Etienne thanked donors for contributing 30% of the 100-million dose and remarked the urgent need for countries to fill in critical gaps in vaccination coverage. She asserted that Omicron has proved that vaccines are the best way to ensure people's protection and safety.
To overcome this pandemic, it is necessary to activate responses more rapidly, PAHO Director noted.