There are growing concerns over the detection of three new variants of covid-19 in 20 countries in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Wednesday, Feb. 3.
These variants “are raising questions about a possible increase” in the transmissibility of the virus, said Carissa F. Etienne, the director of PAHO.
During a virtual press conference, Etienne asked governments to act “correctly” to control the pandemic and to prioritize health workers and the elderly in vaccine distribution.
“Keeping the virus at bay is not a one-time effort, but a constant commitment while transmission is still active,” she said.
Etienne specifically warned of the increase of covid-19 cases and deaths in Mexico, especially in states that were open to tourism.
“In Mexico, cases and deaths continue to increase, particularly in states that attracted significant tourism during the Christmas season, such as Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Nayarit and Baja California Sur,” said Etienne.
She said that new cases of covid-19 also continue to increase in Central America and the Caribbean.
In South America, “Colombia continues to report the highest incidence of cases, followed by Brazil, which continues to record exponential increases in both cases and deaths in the city of Manaus (the capital of the state of Amazonas),” Etienne said.
In the past week, more than 1.8 million people in the Americas were reported to have contracted covid-19, and more than 47,000 have died from the disease, Etienne noted.
…Feb. 5, 2021