COVID-19 Rising in Americas, Biggest Spike in South America- PAHO

People wearing face masks as a protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attend the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

COVID-19 cases in the Americas jumped 11% last week from the previous one, with 1.2 million new cases and 4,069 new deaths, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said at a news conference on Wednesday.

South America saw the biggest rise in cases, with a 20% jump, while Central America saw a 32% decrease in new cases and deaths, PAHO said. Central America had the highest increase in COVID-related deaths in PAHO's last report on June 1.

The U.S. saw a 2% increase in hospitalizations and a 4.2% rise in ICU admissions for the seventh week in a row. Mexico reported over 31,000 cases, a 71% increase, PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said.

In the Caribbean, cases rose by 3.7%, while deaths decreased by 19% compared to the previous week. In the 22 countries and territories with available data in the Americas, nine countries reported increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Etienne said.

Of the 34 countries and territories in the Americas with available data, COVID-19 hospitalizations increased in 15 of them over the last week, and ICU admissions rose in 10 countries and territories, she said.

"Our health systems are coping because the majority of people in the Americas are vaccinated against the virus, and better protected against severe disease and death," Etienne said.

"However, too many people remain unvaccinated and they are at much greater risk of needing a hospital bed or even dying from COVID-19."

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