WHO regional director warns that Americans remain ‘under the grip’ of coronavirus

Emergency Rescue Service (SAMU) nurse Belisa Marcelino checks the lungs of Maria Geralda da Silva, 84, who is suffering from shortness of breath and other symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, as preparation is being made for the patient transferred to a hospital amid the outbreak, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 2, 2020.

Amanda Perobelli | Reuters

The top official of the Pan American health organization warned Tuesday that the growing number of coronavirus cases in the region show that Americans “remain under the grip of Covid-19.”

The Americas have reported more than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 every day with the U.S. accounting for more than half of the property tax, said Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO and regional director of the World Health Organization for the Americas , during a press release on Tuesday.

PAHO has identified concern spikes in cases in countries that were once able to suppress their outbreaks, such as Colombia and Argentina, as well as an expansion in cases in Central America, she said.

Etienne pointed to the Dominican Republic as an increasingly difficult area. It reports more cases than any other island nation in the Caribbean, she said.

“These figures make it clear that our region remains under the grip of Covid-19,” Etienne said.

The U.S. surpassed 5 million cases of coronavirus reported on Sunday, the worst outbreak in the world with roughly a quarter of the world’s 20 million cases. Brazil has the second-most number of cases, reporting more than 3 million cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The US, Brazil and Mexico combined, more than 40% of the world have reported more than 737,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic also threatens the region’s ability to suppress other communicable diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis, Etienne said. She said more than 80% of Latin American and Caribbean countries report challenges in delivering tuberculosis treatments.

“When patients skip doses or interrupt their treatment, a treated condition can quickly turn into an active infection that threatens not only the patient, but also their family and close acquaintance,” Etienne said.

She called on young people to continue with suggested public health measures to prevent the virus from spreading, and noted that they could still transmit the virus to people who might be more vulnerable. PAHO has reported more than 200,000 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in adolescence, 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths per July, she said.

“Young people are not immune to Covid-19. They, young people, have no special powers against Covid-19,” she said.