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May 18, 2022

Rise in COVID Cases across the Americas, “A Wake Up Call”

Dr. Etienne says the rise in cases should be a wakeup call for countries across the region. She suggests that people remain masked up and keep their social distance practices, which she says have served for the past two years.


Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director, PAHO

“It is time to take stock of these numbers and to act. COVID is again on the rise in the Americas. The truth is that this virus is not going away anytime soon. After periods of lower transmission, many countries and government are abandoning masking and social distancing requirements and have reopened borders. But, at the same time, too many people remain at risk, unprotected by vaccines. Only fourteen of the fifty one territories and countries in our region have reached the WHO target to vaccinate seventy eight percent of their population. We know that the elderly, pregnant women and people with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk of severe disease or dying if they catch COVID. But in some countries, vaccination coverage in these groups is lower than in the general population. And in some places, vaccination coverage is lower in socially vulnerable groups, such as indigenous and afro decent communities, putting them at even greater risk. Ultimately, each country is only as protected as the most vulnerable in their population. The rise in cases should serve as a wakeup call. When people get sick hospitals get overwhelmed, health systems are challenged, and the number of deaths rise. Masking and social distancing has served us well since the start of the pandemic and are still valid measures to lower virus transmission.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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