South America Has Soaring Cases, Few Vaccines

View of the COVID-19 ICU n the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2020.  Image: Michael Dantas/AFP/Getty
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View of the COVID-19 ICU n the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2020. Image: Michael Dantas/AFP/Getty

As wealthy nations roll out millions of COVID-19 vaccines and are beginning to reap the benefits, a devastating inverse trend in South America is sending cases soaring, PAHO chief Carissa Etienne warns.

Key Hotspots: 

  • ICUs are packed in Peru's Amazonian state of Loretto and Colombia's Amazonas state. 

  • In Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, hospitals are renting containers to accommodate the dead, according to BBC News reports (translated from Portuguese).

  • And Acre state also faces a dengue epidemic and flooding in several cities.


Meanwhile, vaccine rollouts have lagged in the region because most countries can’t secure bilateral deals with manufacturers, CIDRAP reports. This week Colombia was the first country in the region to receive doses through COVAX.
 
The international community should pressure Brazilian leaders to contain the virus—its proliferation invites the rise of even more lethal variants that could spread across the globe, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis told The Guardian.
 
“What’s the point in sorting the pandemic out in Europe or the United States, if Brazil continues to be a breeding ground for this virus?” he asked.


ICYMI: Brazilian Physician on a Mission – Global Health NOW

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