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Epidemiological Update: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - 23 December 2021

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In the context of the increase in cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in several countries within and outside of the Americas Region, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) recommends Member States to take extreme measures to strengthen vaccination efforts, organize health services to respond to a high demand and, above all, reduce the risk given by the social interactions that are expected during the end of the year celebrations and the upcoming holiday period.

Situation Summary

Since epidemiological week (EW) 40 of 2021, there has been an increasing trend in cases and deaths associated with COVID-19 at the global level, with the highest number of cases and deaths reported in Europe and the Americas.

In the Region of the Americas

From January 2020, when the first cases were detected, and as of EW 50 of 2021, 99,653,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,384,638 deaths, were reported in 56 countries and territories in the Region of the Americas. Of the total number of cases and deaths reported globally, 36.4% of the cases and 44.6% of the deaths were in the Americas.

Comparing the current 4-week period (EW 47-EW 50) with the previous one (EW 43-EW 46), the number of cases reported in the Region increased by 18.5%. There were also increases in AFRO (449%), EURO (29.3%) and WPRO (25.1%).

The North America subregion has reported the highest incidence of new cases in EW 50 (182 cases per 100,000 population), followed by the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean Islands2 (26.8 cases per 100,000 population), South America3 (25.1 cases per 100,000 population) and Central America4 (12.9 per 100,000 population). (Figure 2a).

The subregion of North America reported the highest mortality rate in the Region during EW 50 (1.9 deaths per 100,000 population) while in the other subregions the mortality rate was less than 1 death per 100,000 population. (Figure 2b).