The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) which is the World Health Organization’s regional office has reported that COVID-19 cases are still surging in the Americas, averaging 150,000 cases a day in the last week.
The United States continues to report record-breaking numbers, while parts of Canada and some states in Mexico, including the capital, are experiencing spikes, the regional office said.
The US is the first country to surpass 10 million COVID-19 infections, as the ‘winter surge’ of the virus hits the nation.
Other countries in the Americas are doing better. Argentina, Costa Rica and Jamaica have curbed the outbreak with effective contact tracing, and most Caribbean nations have avoided spikes by acting fast, PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said in a briefing.
He added that Europe has been a cautionary tale on the danger of a resurgence of the virus when restrictive measures are lifted too quickly.
The PAHO director also intimated that Central America is seeing a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases due to better control measures.
Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have flattened their curves, and cases in Argentina are decreasing due to improved coordination between the federal and provincial governments, he said.
“Chile’s effective epidemic surveillance systems allowed it to bounce back after unprecedented spikes earlier this year.
“In Cuba and Costa Rica, universal healthcare systems have ensured the COVID-19 pandemic never got out of control.”
PAHO’s report came as a number of states in the US imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic due to a surge in the number of hospitalizations due to the pandemic which is straining facilities and medical resources across much of the country.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo is the latest to impose a new round of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus as the infection rate climbed and hospital admissions soared in the state that was the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States its early stages.
Mr Cuomo ordered bars, restaurants and gyms in the state to shut at 10pm nightly and limited private party attendance to 10 people.
“We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge, and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” the governor told reporters, adding that contact-tracing identified late-night gatherings at bars, restaurants and gyms as key virus spreaders in the state.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio added in a tweet that, “this is our LAST chance to stop a second wave,” as he announced the city-wide seven-day average rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive had hit 2.52 percent.
The city’s public school system, the nation’s largest, would be shut to in-person learning if that figure reached 3 percent.
The new measures, which take effect on 13th November, came a day after California and several states across the Midwest also tightened restrictions on residents to try to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
A record number of people have reportedly died of COVID-19 in several Midwest states this week including in Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“We are definitely seeing a rise in cases and large number of cases across the state,” Dr Chris Weaver, an emergency medicine physician and senior vice president of clinical effectiveness at Indiana University Health, told reporters.
Texas has also became the first US state to record more than one million coronavirus cases, as sporting events were cancelled and the border city of El Paso added mobile morgues in anticipation of virus deaths overwhelming hospitals for weeks.