- In South America alone, more than one million people have lost their lives to COVID-19; this accounts for a third of the deaths worldwide;
- Due to the worsening of the pandemic, health systems are on the verge of collapse, with waiting lines for medical care and crowded ICU beds;
- Five months after the beginning of the vaccinations worldwide, less than two out of every thousand vaccines have been given in the poorest countries in the Americas, said IFRC regional director in the Americas.
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has issued a statement warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over in Americas, the region that currently has the highest worldwide incidence of COVID-19 cases per 100,000, has reached its highest peak of deaths from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic and faces the collapse of the health system in several countries.
“The American continent currently has one of the highest daily death rates worldwide and in South America alone, more than one million people have lost their lives to COVID-19. This accounts for a third of the deaths worldwide,” said the statement.
According to the institution, 10 of the 15 countries that report the highest number of new cases (per 100,000) are in Latin America and the Caribbean; Uruguay, Argentina and Costa Rica lead the list, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Brazil.
Due to the worsening of the pandemic, health systems are on the verge of collapse, with waiting lines for medical care and crowded ICU beds. “Health systems are at real risk of imminent collapse in many countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, where cases and deaths are at the highest peak since the beginning of the pandemic. Alarm bells are also ringing in Paraguay, Colombia, and Bolivia,” said Pedro Porrino, IFRC emergency health coordinator in the Americas.
According to IFRC, the concern increases due to the possibility of the emergence of new coronavirus variants, which are more transmissible and lethal. Hence the importance, defends the institution, of guaranteeing a better distribution of vaccines to the poorest countries.
“Five months after the beginning of the vaccinations worldwide, less than two out of every thousand vaccines have been administered in the poorest countries in the Americas. Leaving the most vulnerable behind in vaccination processes is a moral and public health catastrophe. Millions of lives depend on the efforts to tackle the disparities among and within countries,” said Martha Keays, IFRC regional director in the Americas.