Covid could become an endemic disease

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“Uncertain” scenario

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MIAMI (AP) .— The course of the pandemic remains “extremely uncertain” in the Americas and although it could be controlled if vaccination is expanded and sanitary measures are maintained, there is also the possibility that Covid-19 persists in the time, said yesterday the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

“The scenarios largely depend on two factors that are related: the establishment of public health measures and the dynamics of vaccination coverage,” said Carissa Etienne.

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“Without systematic and timely action, there is the possibility that Covid will become an endemic disease,” he warned.

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Vaccination goal

The American continent is on track to reach the goal of 40% vaccination set by the World Health Organization by the end of 2021. However, there are still six countries in the region – including Guatemala, Haiti and Nicaragua – that have not immunized nor to 20% of its population. The regional average is currently 39%, with a handful of countries — Chile, Canada, and Uruguay — already applying two doses to 70% of their population.

Much of the obstacles faced by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in accessing vaccines stem from the lack of availability. The developed nations of the world hoarded doses with bilateral agreements with pharmaceutical companies, leaving behind the poorest, who can buy only at low prices or access the doses through donations.

PAHO has already distributed vaccines in the region through the United Nations’ Covax mechanism, which is also being held back by the lack of availability of doses.

In the last week, the Americas registered more than 1.1 million new cases and just over 24,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to PAHO. Although the number of sick and deceased has been reduced in some countries of the region, the situation remains delicate in others.

PAHO outlined three possible scenarios for the next nine months.

The first, of high and continuous rates of virus transmission due to low vaccination coverage and insufficient public health measures.

The second, with periodic transmission peaks when public health and social measures fail or vaccination coverage decreases, and the third with a drop in hospitalizations and deaths due to the application of persistent social and public health measures and high coverage. vaccination.

“The steps we take in the next three months will help us save lives, make the most of available supplies and determine our prospects for 2022,” Etienne said.

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