COVID-19 cases increase 50% in the Americas in the last week

29 Dec 2021
People wearing masks to protect themselves against COVID-19

The region reports the biggest rise in cases worldwide with holiday period set to drive up numbers, PAHO warns, urging countries to continue vaccination campaigns and implementation of public health measures.

Washington, DC, December 29, 2021 (PAHO)- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) data show that COVID-19 cases increased 50% and deaths 11% in the region of the Americas in the last week.

From December 19 to 25, more than half of countries and territories in the region reported an increase in cases of over 20%. The Omicron Variant of Concern has been reported in 27 countries and territories of the Americas.

The largest number of new cases were reported in the United States, followed by Canada and Argentina.

In Central America, no increase in cases has been reported, except in Panama and Belize, which saw cases rise in some of its regions.  

Bolivia leads the increase in cases in the Andean region, with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru also reporting rising numbers.

In the Southern Cone, Paraguay and Uruguay reported increases, while Brazil saw a decrease in cases.

The number of COVID-19 cases is also rising in the Caribbean region. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica show significant increases compared to the previous week. Trinidad and Tobago, on the other hand, reported declines.

PAHO warns that the increase in SARS-CoV-2 virus circulation in several countries, coupled with greater personal contact due to the holiday and vacation season, may lead to a rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the coming weeks.

To reduce COVID-19 transmission, PAHO continues to recommend vaccination and public health measures. These include the use of tight-fitting masks, physical distancing, ventilation of indoor spaces, avoidance of crowds, and practicing hand hygiene.

In addition, PAHO continues to call on countries to accelerate vaccination coverage against COVID-19. As of December 28, more than 1.4 billion doses have been administered in the Americas, and 57% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean is fully vaccinated.

The COVAX mechanism, through PAHO's Revolving Fund, has so far delivered more than 76.2 million doses of vaccine to 33 countries in the Americas, many of them donated by other countries.