Coronavirus spreading like by no means earlier than in Americas, well being company says

Healthcare workers are pictured at a testing center for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

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BRASILIA, Jan 19 (Reuters) – COVID-19 infections are hitting new highs in America with 7.2 million new cases and more than 15,000 COVID-related deaths in the last week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

“The virus is spreading more actively than ever,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said at a briefing.

The Caribbean has seen the sharpest rise in infections since the start of the two-year-old pandemic, the regional authority said. In North America, the United States and Canada, we are witnessing a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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Given the lack of testing, PAHO recommended countries prioritize rapid antigen testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms and who are at risk of spreading the virus.

Although more than 60% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Omicron is spreading rapidly in all regions, said PAHO Incident Manager Sylvain Aldighieri.

The variant’s progress in the coming weeks and months will depend on public health measures to contain it, including the use of masks and social distancing and, most importantly, vaccination to reduce the severity of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, he said he.

Brazil reported a record 137,103 cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours as omicron spread in Latin America’s largest country, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as new infections surged above the previous daily record of 115,228 in June last year.

Brazil has the third-highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, after the United States and Russia, according to a Reuters tally. Continue reading

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Reporting by Anthony Boodle; Editing by Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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