Emergency Rescue Service (SAMU) nurse Belisa Marcelino checks the lungs of Maria Geralda da Silva, 84, who is experiencing difficulty breathing and other symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) as preparations for the transfer of patient in hospital amid explosion, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 2, 2020.
Amanda Perobelli | Reuters
The top health official of the Pan American Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the growing number of coronavirus cases in the region indicate that America remains “under the control of Covid-19”.
Americans have reported more than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 each day with the U.S. accounting for more than half the case load, said Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO and regional director of the World Health Organization for America, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
PAHO has identified disturbing spikes in cases in countries that were once able to suppress their outbreaks, such as Colombia and Argentina, as well as an expansion of cases in Central America, she said.
Etienne pointed to the Dominican Republic as an increasingly disturbing area. It’s reporting more cases than any other island nation in the Caribbean, she said.
“These numbers make it clear that our region remains under the control of Covid-19,” Etienne said.
The United States exceeded 5 million reported cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the worst outbreak in the world with nearly a quarter of the 20 million cases worldwide. Brazil has the second highest number of cases, reporting more than 3 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The United States, Brazil and Mexico, combined, have reported more than 40% of the world’s more than 737,000 reported coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The pandemic is also threatening the region’s ability to suppress other contagious diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis, Etienne said. She said more than 80% of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are reporting challenges in providing TB treatments.
“If patients skip doses or stop their treatment, a manageable condition can quickly turn into an active infection that threatens not only the patient but also their family and close acquaintances,” Etienne said.
She urged young people to continue to adhere to suggested public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus, noting that they can still transmit the virus to people who may be more vulnerable. PAHO has reported more than 200,000 confirmed and potential cases of Covid-19 in adolescence, 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths since July, she said.
“Young people are not immune to Covid-19. They, young people, have no special powers against Covid-19,” she said.