Compared to the archetypal twelvemonth of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was “undoubtedly worse” for the Americas, wherever infections and deaths tripled, the apical UN wellness authoritative determination reported connected Wednesday.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), delivered her last briefing of the year, providing a determination update and reflections connected the crisis.
A dense toll
Since the commencement of the pandemic, much than 98 cardinal radical in the Americas person developed COVID-19 and much than 2.3 cardinal person died from the disease.
More than a 3rd of each cases reported worldwide, and 1 successful 4 deaths, person occurred successful the region.
“And erstwhile we comparison 2020 to 2021, this twelvemonth was undoubtedly worse. We saw triple the fig of COVID infections and deaths successful this 2nd twelvemonth of the pandemic than we did successful 2020,” Dr. Etienne told journalists.
She said hospitals were stretched thin, stocks of captious medicines and supplies ran low, and wellness systems “were enactment to the trial similar ne'er before.”
PAHO is the determination bureau of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Over the past week, much than 926,056 caller COVID-19 infections were reported crossed the Americas, a astir 19 per cent summation implicit erstwhile weeks.
North America is experiencing a resurgence successful cases arsenic Mexico witnesses a simplification successful infections.
Cases are down successful Central America, but successful Panama, wherever they person steadily accrued implicit the past month.
“We’re seeing a shifting representation successful South America,” Dr. Etienne reported. “Cases person dropped successful Bolivia for the archetypal clip since September, conscionable arsenic COVID infections accrued successful Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay, and cases stay dependable successful Brazil and Peru.”
Although infections are down wide crossed the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago reached its highest play lawsuit count, portion Saint Lucia besides saw cases emergence by 66 per cent implicit the past week.
The Cayman Islands reported the highest play incidence of immoderate state oregon territory successful the Americas.
Vaccine inequity persists
While 2021 has been “a sobering year”, COVID-19 vaccines person protected millions against the worst of the coronavirus, said Dr. Etienne. More than 1.3 cardinal doses person been administered successful the portion to date.
“Although rollout of vaccines has not been arsenic accelerated arsenic we would person liked, oregon arsenic evenly distributed, contiguous 56 per cent of radical successful Latin America and the Caribbean person been afloat vaccinated against COVID-19, acknowledgment to the efforts of countries and the enactment of donors,” she said.
Dr. Etienne warned that vaccine inequity continues to disagreement the region, saying “if we don’t code glaring gaps, we’ll neglect to bring this microorganism nether control.”
Medical workers hole to transportation retired COVID-19 tests successful Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Learn from the pandemic
With nary “magic bullet” against COVID-19, the wellness authoritative underscored the request to some clasp caller tools and usage them wisely.
Several promising caller drugs are successful late-stage development, and countries indispensable beryllium acceptable to leverage them erstwhile approved, she said.
Dr. Etienne besides urged countries to build connected lessons learned implicit the pandemic. This includes heeding proposal from WHO, experts, scientists, and regulators “whose jobs it is to cautiously reappraisal the information and efficacy of drugs and urge when, wherever and however to deploy them.”
Countries indispensable besides enactment unneurotic to guarantee radical everyplace tin payment from immoderate caller therapeutics, erstwhile available, done timely entree and affordable prices.
Solidarity and sharing
Stressing that “we cannot and indispensable not fto past repetition itself”, Dr. Etienne called for nations to collaborate present to grow accumulation capacity, including successful the Americas region, “so countries don’t stay wholly babelike connected pharmaceutical imports.”
She underlined the value of solidarity, different large acquisition from the pandemic, which is however vaccines were developed successful grounds time, variants could beryllium identified quickly, and countries could set their responses based connected latest disposable evidence.
“Each clip we worked together, we had breakthroughs. But erstwhile countries worked successful isolation, erstwhile innovations and resources were not shared, we created abstraction for the pandemic to thrive. Sharing is cardinal to defeating this pandemic,” she said.