MIAMI – The number of people sick with the new coronavirus in Latin America has tripled in the last month and although there are prospects for the development of a vaccine that can contain the pandemic, in the next two years there will be new outbreaks, the Pan American Health Organization warned on Wednesday.
Likewise, almost half of all world cases of Covid-19 are in the Americas, whose countries number more than 4.5 million patients and 202.6000 deaths from the disease, according to PAHO.
In May, the region became the focus of the pandemic internationally, but since then cases in Latin America have tripled from 690,000 to more than two million, said Carissa Etienne, the director of the organization.
"Unfortunately these figures will continue to rise," said the official at the weekly virtual conference held from the organization's headquarters in Washington.
She explained that a There is now a wide transmission in most of Central and South America, where Brazil exceeded one million cases and thus joined the United States as one of the only two countries in the world whose cases of patients exceed six digits.
Other One of the countries that has registered an ascending curve of coronavirus cases is Mexico, but PAHO officials said that they are working with the authorities of that country to implement measures that they hope will soon control the situation.
Etienne noted that the increase in cases in the region "is extremely worrying", but said that an even greater tragedy was avoided with the early implementation of social distancing measures in most of the countries.
One of those who did not, remarked It was Nicaragua, which in turn is the only country in Central America that does not report its cases to PAHO despite the fact that the organization has trained laboratory personnel to do the exams.  Etienne said that countries are now under pressure to ease restrictions for economic and political reasons, even as transmission continues to accelerate in the absence of effective treatment or a vaccine.
"We hope that in the next two For years in the Americas region, we experience recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, which could alternate with periods of limited transmission, "Etienne warned after urging governments to put aside political differences and unite to confront the pandemic. "We have to be realistic about the future," he said.
According to PAHO, there are more than 130 vaccine projects under development to contain the coronavirus and at least ten of them in an experimental phase in humans. It is not known exactly when the first could be ready, but some scientists have said they hope it will be by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the organization said that people must adapt to the new reality of living with the pandemic.
"We all have to adapt to a new way of life," said Etienne. "The question now is no longer how we return to things as they were before, but how we move forward and build a sustainable and effective response to contain the pandemic."
The official stressed that governments have to be flexible in their policies of public health and consider not only economic but also social aspects because the crisis will only be overcome if the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
"If we neglect them we run the risk that the next two years will be like the last few months" , he said referring to the indigenous, black, poor and migrant populations. "And that shouldn't happen," he emphasized.
Globally, more than 9.3 million people have become ill and more than 479,000 have died of coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which it bases its data on the reports of the governments and the health authorities of each country.
In most people, this virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that disappear in two to three weeks. But in some people, especially older adults and those with underlying health disorders, it can cause more serious illness and even death.