Coronavirus: PAHO alerts on transmission “still very high” in 7 countries in the Americas, including Ecuador
PAHO on Tuesday urged the countries of the Americas to “be cautious” with the de-escalation of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, warning that transmission “is still very high” in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Mexico.
“Reducing restrictions too soon could accelerate the spread of the virus and open the door to a dramatic increase or spread to adjacent areas,” said the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, during a videoconference with journalists. .
Etienne said that in many areas of the region the number of new coronavirus infections multiplies in just days.
“In the United States, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Mexico we are seeing cases that double in four days or less,” he said.
“This is a worrying indicator that tells us that transmission is still very high in these countries, and that they must implement the full range of public health measures available: comprehensive testing, contact tracing (when contagions are verified), case isolation and, of course, social distancing ”, he added.
Etienne raised the alarm particularly in Haiti, where PAHO fears an outbreak of cases.
“There is a real danger of a large-scale outbreak followed by a humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” he said.
In the Caribbean, most countries are in the early stages of their outbreaks, with the Dominican Republic, a neighbor of Haiti, registering the highest number of cases.
Etienne said that in Haiti the majority of the population does not have access to drinking water or sanitation and lives crowded without the possibility of social distancing, and there is danger of famine due to food insecurity.
“The situation has been described as a perfect storm approaching,” he said.
Given the “mosaic” of the epidemiological diversity of the American continent, PAHO works with each country to determine the trends of the disease in each context.
However, Etienne urged all countries to be prudent in reopening their economies, as well as to make political decisions based on data (from screening, case and death tests and the availability of health services) and to focus on local needs.
“We all must continue to act aggressively to contain the spread” of the new coronavirus, Etienne said.
“The social and economic pressure we are seeing now will be even greater if we do not contain the virus, if we remove control measures prematurely and overwhelm the capacity of our health systems,” he said.
Half-humanity has been forced to confine themselves to their homes since mid-March to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, first reported in December in China, but those measures are beginning to lift in many regions as cases decline.
The new coronavirus has caused more than 87,000 deaths in the Americas, according to an AFP balance sheet from official sources. The United States and Canada account for most of the deaths (72 897), while Latin America and the Caribbean recorded 14 415.