Due to the rise in Covid cases over the past 6 weeks along with the onset of the hurricane season and influenza in the Americas, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has urged for increased attention on the matter.
There was a 10.4% rise in Covid positive cases, with a 14% rise in complications, showing a double risk of Covid and influenza.
Since the beginning of the COvid pandemic, there was a decrease in influenza cases. However, there is a change in the state of things, the director believes that a non-traditional flu virus is circulating in the Americas.
Countries like Peru and Mexico witnessed a large number of influenza patients than previously anticipated. Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina saw a sharp rise in hospitalities related due to influenza.
Young children in countries like Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Brazil Paraguay, and Chile are mainly contracting the virus.
Dr. Etienne says that we need to use the tools we have to track COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in the Americas. This will help us identify outbreaks more quickly.
The PAHO Director also urged people to ensure they are up to date with the flu vaccine as this reflects the strains circulating now and can provide better protection to all at risk.
Every year, flu vaccination drives are crucial, but this year is especially crucial because we face several threats at the same time.
Dr. Etienne also emphasized that while the next epidemic season will mainly affect countries in the southern hemisphere, nations in the Caribbean and Central America must brace themselves for hurricane season.
“One huge storm might demolish people’s livelihoods, destroy our health systems, and will lead to the loss of countless human lives,” PAHO Director stated.
People must be cautious as anything can happen due to changes in weather patterns due to climate change. Dr. Etienne also urges all the countries to be up to date with their action plans for extreme weather situations.
“Countries need a thorough knowledge of their risk zones and susceptible populations and health care providers who might be impacted,” she added.
PAHO ensured their continuous support to countries. Their SMART Hosptial initiative which places importance on the reconstruction of the health centers in vulnerable areas has been applied to all the regions. This would help countries to defend against extreme weather conditions.
“Our health systems’ resilience is critical to our well-being and that of our societies,” PAHO Director Susana Malcorra said. “This is a crucial lesson from COVID-19 that we cannot ignore,” and it will be addressed by Heads of State at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles on June 6
The region’s health systems, which are still healing from the pandemic’s effects, are not only dealing with an increase in COVID-19 infections but also with a recent rise in current public health events including Monkeypox, viral hepatitis, and other respiratory disorders. Dr. Etienne added that these health threats were just the tip of the iceberg.
“To secure everything we hope for the future of our region: resilience and security, economic prosperity, and the health and wellbeing of our people,” she continued. “Urgent investment in healthcare is, therefore ‘necessary to ensure that we can achieve everything that we desire for the long-term viability of our region: robustness and
The Director highlighted the COVID-19 situation in the region, stating that all subregions other than the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean Islands have seen increases in both cases and deaths, with COVID-19 instances in South America up by 43.1% and deaths rising by 21.3% in Central America.