By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is reporting a mixed bag when it comes to the COVID-19 trajectory in the Americas. According to PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne, new COVID-19 cases spiked in Central America, the Caribbean and some South America countries last week.

Western hemisphere map
Public domain image/ E Pluribus Anthony

She points out that cases are increasing in Central American countries, including El Salvador and Guatemala, where COVID deaths have also surged. In addition, parts of the Caribbean, particularly Cuba, cases are spiking. Cuba has reported the highest number of weekly cases since the start of the pandemic.

Elsewhere in South America, “COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths are dropping across most of the continent, including in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Chile”, she said.

However, cases are rising in Argentina and Colombia.

Dr. Etienne noted in a press briefing, “Cases rise when complacency sets in. We are all tired, but after experiencing successive peaks of infections in the same locations, we must break this cycle by embracing public health measures early and consistently.”

She also discussed the issue with vaccine access in these areas. While 58% of Chile’s population are fully protected against COVID and in Uruguay 55% are protected, Paraguay and Jamaica have fully vaccinated less than 3% of their populations. Honduras and Guatemala have yet to vaccinate 1% of their populations.

In total, the Americas has reported nearly 74 million COVID-19 cases and 1.9 million deaths – more than a third of COVID cases and more than 40% of deaths reported globally.