Panama, 25 January 2021 - The Americas have hit a sobering milestone in this pandemic. One million people have died as a result of COVID-19 across the continent. That is nearly half of the world’s deaths caused by this pandemic.
Martha Keays, Regional Director for the IFRC in the Americas, stated:
“We are suffering a colossal, collective loss. One million is an incomprehensible number; it is the equivalent of losing half the population of Havana or Quito. Each number is an individual loss, a family tragedy, a community broken. We grieve this loss together and together we must keep fighting this pandemic.
“With almost half of the world’s COVID deaths, this region continues to bear the brunt of this monumental crisis on so many fronts. People have lost loved ones, jobs, homes and many are experiencing a lack of access to health care, food, or education. They have been stretched to breaking point and the mental health impacts are immense. These multiple impacts will be felt for many years to come, and yet we are still some way off before we can say the pandemic is over.
“These are some of the hardest days we have ever faced, but we are not alone. Red Cross volunteers continue to work around the clock, alongside their governments and other agencies to serve their communities. Though we may feel helpless we must remember that we all have a role to play in staying safe. On this dark and somber day, let us show our solidarity for each other by keeping ourselves safe, and maintain the hope that together we will get through this.”
A million deaths represent one million individual tragedies and countless heartbreaks. They represent many, many thousands of orphans, of widows, of holes in families and communities that will never be filled. They also represent countless health care workers and frontline responders, including many Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff, who have lost their lives.
We are reminded that vaccines offer a glimmer of hope. But sadly, this hope is not equally shared. An equitable vaccine is crucial, so that the countries who are not able to enter the bidding race for a vaccine, are not left behind. We must also ensure that all people, regardless of their status, are not left off the list to get a vaccine.
Though there have been encouraging vaccine developments, the humbling reality is that we are not out of the woods just yet. We each have a responsibility to stay vigilant and to practice the preventative measures that will curb the spread. All people, even those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, must continue to maintain physical distance, stay home as much as possible, wear a mask and thoroughly wash their hands.
More than half a million Red Cross volunteers across the whole of the American continent are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response. To date:
·**11,826,744** people have been reached with health and hygiene promotion activities.
·**3,382,751** people reached with water, sanitation and hygiene activities.
·**2,772,405** people reached with food and other kind assistance.
·**267,126** people receiving cash or voucher support to deal with economic impacts.
·**158,953** people reached with essential community health services.
·**111,237** people confirmed or suspected with COVID-19 transported by Red Cross ambulances.
For more information contact:
Susana Arroyo Barrantes, firstname.lastname@example.org, +506 8416 1771
Teresa Goncalves, email@example.com, +44 7891 857 056
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
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