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PAHO: cases of omicron fall sharply in America, but deaths still rise

PAHO: cases of omicron fall sharply in America, but deaths still rise

New infections of the omicron variant of the coronavirus fell 31% in the last week, but deaths still increased 5.6%, reported the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

PAHO director Carissa Etienne explained that the continent registered 3.3 million new cases and 34,000 deaths associated with COVID-19, chaining six consecutive weeks with increases in deaths.

“We have seen that increases in infections are followed three weeks after increases in deaths. And right now we are losing too many lives,” she stated.

The organization expects the current drop in the number of new infections to translate into a drop in deaths within three to four weeks.

Etienne regretted that many people “relaxed their precautions” in the face of the omicron variant, which, as he recalled, is more contagious than the previous ones and has caused a “greater number of cases.” “Now we are dealing with the consequences,” he remarked.

He especially highlighted that Brazil has registered its highest increase in deaths in the last week, and that hospitalizations increased by 19% in the Caribbean.

On the other hand, the PAHO director stressed that coronavirus vaccines have been shown to protect against “serious diseases and deaths.”

He explained that 14 countries in the region have already immunized more than 70% of the population, the goal set by PAHO for next June, and asked that people have “no doubt” about the effectiveness of the vaccines.

For his part, the deputy director of PAHO, Jarbas Barbosa, stressed that “it is highly recommended” to apply third booster doses, first to older adults and people with chronic diseases, and then to the rest of the population.

Barbosa said it is still “premature” to conclude with certainty whether it will be necessary to be vaccinated every year as is the case with the flu.

And before the statements of tennis player Novak Djokovic, who said he was willing to sacrifice tournaments rather than get vaccinated, the deputy director of PAHO replied that “it is a pity that a person with access to information uses this argument”, and recalled that vaccines are effective and safe.

Source: Gestion

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