Pan American Health Organization Response to COVID-19 in the Americas, 17 January to 31 May 2020

In the LAC Region, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities have historically faced inequalities. Their lower incomes, lower level of educational attainment, and other disadvantaged social determinants of health, compounded with their reduced access to health services, geographic barriers, discrimination, and stigma, make these populations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and mortality during this COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has now spread to all 54 countries and territories in the Americas. By 26 May 2020, cases and deaths in Latin America surpassed Europe and the United States in the daily number of reported coronavirus infections. By June 2020, two of the three countries with the highest number of reported cases are in the Americas, making this region the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report presents an overview of PAHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It begins in January 2020, when PAHO rapidly mobilized its experts and shipped needed laboratory supplies for molecular detection of the virus through 31 May 2020. It provides an analysis of the epidemiological situation in the Americas and the impact of the spread of the virus on health systems in Latin America and the Caribbean. It includes select highlights of PAHO’s work in the countries and territories of the Americas. Epidemiological data is presented as of 12 June 2020 (unless indicated otherwise) to more accurately reflect this rapidly evolving situation. Meanwhile, PAHO’s work to stem the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is presented up to 31 May 2020.