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COVID cases, deaths falling in Americas, but too soon to lower guard -PAHO – Metro US

COVID cases, deaths falling in Americas, but too soon to lower guard -PAHO

FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign for homeless people
FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign for homeless people in Rio de Janeiro’s downtown

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Wednesday said COVID-19 cases fell by 26% across the Americas last week while deaths from the virus dropped by nearly 19%, but cautioned that some effective measures to curb infections should be maintained.

The region recorded 1.1 million new infections during the period with 18,000 COVID-related deaths.

“We all want the pandemic to be over, but optimism alone cannot control the virus. It is too soon to lower our guard,” PAHO director Carissa Etienne said.

Etienne also noted that the number of reported cases in countries may not reflect the actual figure due to a possible reduction in testing.

“There are still some countries and territories reporting increases associated with the latest COVID-19 surge,” she said.

The PAHO chief pointed out that it has been two years since the beginning of the pandemic, just before COVID transmission became widespread in the Americas.

Since then, at least 6 six million people have died around the world, with the Americas accounting for almost half of the deaths, including nearly 965,000 in the United States.

“With more than 2.6 million lives lost, we reported the most COVID deaths out of any other region in the world,” Etienne said.

In the first two months of 2022 alone, 63% of new global cases have been reported in the Americas.

“I’m afraid that there is no going back to normal at this time, that we need to continue with some of the measures that have proven to be effective, and in particular, we need to ramp up the vaccination coverage,” said Etienne.

(Reporting by Diego Ore and Anthony Esposito; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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