At her weekly press briefing, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr. Carissa Etienne called for authorities to employ all available resources to fight COVID-19, including vaccines, masks, social distancing, and surveillance.
“COVID does not simply go away,” Etienne explained.
She disclosed that the Americas reported over 926,056 new COVID infections over the last week – an 18.4% increase from previous weeks.
According to the PAHO Director, North America, the US, and Canada are experiencing a resurgence in cases as Mexico continues to witness a reduction in COVID infections.
In Central America, cases are also down, except in Panama, where cases have steadily increased over the last month, Etienne observed.
However, she explained a shifting picture in South America with a drop in cases in Bolivia for the first time since September, just as COVID infections increased in Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and remain steady in Brazil and Peru.
Regarding the Caribbean, Etienne, according to a PAHO news release, said while infections are down overall, Trinidad and Tobago reached its highest weekly COVID case count, and cases rose by 66% in Saint Lucia over the last week.
In addition, she said the Cayman Islands reported the highest weekly COVID incidence rate of any country or territory in the Americas.
The PAHO official lamented that Vaccine inequity continues to divide the region.
“And if we don’t address these glaring gaps, we’ll fail to bring this virus under control,” she declared.