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Americas double number of COVID-19 infections compared to last year

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Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2021. 5:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) the Americas are seeing nearly double the number of infections reported this time last year.

Nearly 1.5 million cases and more than 22,000 COVID-related deaths were reported in the Americas in the past week.

While new infections are declining in the Caribbean, COVID-19-related deaths are increasing on many islands, including Sint Marteen, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.

COVID-19 infections are rising in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize. At the same time, infections continue to drop across South America, although there is a slight increase in cases in Venezuela.

Vaccination campaigns are progressing despite limited supplies, according to PAHO Director Dr. Clarissa Etienne. So far, 28 percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, with significant differences from country to country.

“While we should celebrate that Canada, Chile, and Uruguay have fully vaccinated over two-thirds of their populations, we cannot forget that one-fourth of countries in our region have yet to vaccinate 20 percent of their people,” Dr. Etienne said. “And in some places, coverage is much lower.”

She pointed out that Guatemala and Nicaragua are below 10 percent coverage, and in Venezuela, just over 11 percent of people have been fully vaccinated. In Haiti, less than one percent of the population has been protected.

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