PAHO: Second Coronavirus Wave Has Not Arrived

by: - July 8, 2020
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The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) warns the region is still in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and countries must continue to remain alert.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing on July 7, PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne says the past two months have been challenging and the next six months will not be any easier.

She says: “What we are seeing now is not the second wave it is still the first wave and I am afraid it continues to grow.

It is moving within each country affecting areas which did not have many cases before.”

The PAHO Director says the trend is concerning as the surge comes at a time when people are experiencing fatigue with the recommendations and measures.

She fears this could end up putting more people at risk and advises that preventive measures be reinforced and not relaxed.

There is also concern that the pandemic is moving from some of the bigger cities that tend to have better hospital capacity to smaller towns which may not be able to accommodate patients requiring ICU and other specialised care.

Dr Etienne says because of this, mortality could rise if more of the newly infected patients have trouble accessing the care they need.

As of July 6, PAHO says there were 5.9 million COVID-19 cases and almost 267,000 deaths in the Americas.

Last week there were 735,000 new cases in the region with an average of over 100,000 cases reported every day, which is nearly 20 per cent higher than the previous week.

The PAHO Director notes new patterns have emerged.

Two months ago, the USA accounted for 75 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the region but this has changed.

This past week, the USA accounted for just under half of reported cases in the region, Latin America and the Caribbean registered more than 50 percent and Brazil alone reported for a quarter of those cases.

Dr Etienne says countries in the Americas should remain alert especially in those places which have seen a recent acceleration in cases.