Severe increase’ in covid-19 cases in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned again about the increase of infections and deaths in the United States, Canada, and Mexico by covid-19, so it announced an extraordinary meeting with the health authorities of those countries to analyze the planning and distribution of the vaccines acquired through the Covax mechanism. 

MEXICO CITY (Times Media Mexico) – Carissa F. Etienne, Director of PAHO, clarified that although the records of various vaccines have not yet been approved, containing the pandemic will take several months. “It is not a time to rest,” she said, given the severe increase in cases of contagion in the region. She added that North America -Canada, the U.S., and Mexico- had seen significant increases in weekly cases. 

In Canada, infections continue to increase, and there has been a record number of deaths in some provinces. In the United States, the daily case count has reached 200,000, and more than 100,000 people are hospitalized for the disease. Mexico is also experiencing a resurgence of cases in Baja California, near the U.S. border. 

Etienne explained that this week PAHO had convened an extraordinary meeting of the directive council that will meet with the ministers of health of the region “to discuss the preparation for the deployment of the vaccine, purchase, and distribution through the revolving fund and the Covax mechanism.” 

For his part, Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO’s deputy director, acknowledged that it is unknown precisely what the coverage will be that is suitable for interrupting transmission. “In other vaccines, we have estimated that we need to cover 70 percent of the population, to interrupt the spread, but in the field of the (new biological) against covid, we only have a hypothesis. “We need more refined information,” Barbosa said, noting that during 2020 and 2021, it is not known how many doses will be available. 

The projection is “to contain and interrupt the transmission of covid, to achieve a collective immunity.” However, it is still unknown the real availability of the vaccine and what is optimal for that purpose, Barbosa admitted. “We are going to go step by step. The challenge is enormous; we can cover 20 percent of the most vulnerable population. That will be a significant and difficult challenge, especially for Latin America and the Caribbean, even if they have their immunization plans ready. 

In Latin America, said Marcos Espinal, director of PAHO’s Department of Communicable Diseases, the second wave of contagion is being observed with concern in the region, as happened in Europe. “As we have seen in Europe, which is going through a second wave, we are also already seeing in Latin America that they are having increases or signs of a second wave. Among them Brazil, which is already reporting more than 50 thousand cases when a month ago it reported some 20 thousand; in Uruguay, which had flattened the curve, we also see an increase in cases. And in Mexico, we also see increases. 

Espinal said that “there is this increased risk and therefore measures should not be relaxed, avoid risky situations because this virus kills, has the potential to kill, and we have seen so many deaths. 

Mexico agreed to a pre-purchase of 35 million doses of vaccine against covid-19 from the Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSino Biologics, announced yesterday on Twitter by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. In a message posted on his social networks, Ebrard highlighted that with the signing of this agreement, the country achieves more vaccination options against SARS-CoV-2.  “Congratulations to Jorge Alcocer, Secretary of Health; to Xuefeng Yu, President of CanSino Biologics, and Jerome Piguet, from Latam Pharma, for the pre-purchase agreement of 35 million doses of vaccines signed. More options for Mexico,” he tweeted.