Friday, 21 January, 2022

COVID-19 deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean top 1 million

A cemetery worker digs a grave for a Covid-19 victim at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 19. Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Samantha Beech and Claudia Rebaza, May 22 (CNN): Latin America and the Caribbean have recorded more than 1 million deaths known to be related to Covid-19, a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

As of Friday, Latin America and the Caribbean have reported a total of at least 1,000,071 deaths due to Covid-19.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director, Carissa F. Etienne, described the death toll as a “tragic milestone” in a statement Friday. The PAHO puts the death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean slightly higher, at 1,001,781.

It has called on the world to intensify efforts to improve the region’s access to vaccines.

CNN’s analysis is based on figures from Johns Hopkins and local health ministries as of 7 p.m. ET Friday.

The data for Latin America and the Caribbean includes the following countries: Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Haiti, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Cuba, Uruguay, Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, and Barbuda and Belize. The region includes other countries and territories, but they have had few or no coronavirus deaths.

The PAHO said almost 89 per cent of the deaths occurred in five countries: Brazil (44.3 per cent), México (22.1 per cent), Colombia (8.3 per cent), Argentina (7.3) and Peru (6.7 per cent). Three percent of the deaths were concentrated in Central America and 1 per cent in the Caribbean.

“More than one million lives have been cut short because of Covid-19. This is a tragic milestone for everyone in the region,” said Etienne. “This pandemic is far from over, and it is hitting Latin America and the Caribbean severely, affecting our health, our economies, and entire societies. Yet only about 3 per cent of our citizens have been vaccinated.”

More than 153 million people have been immunized in the Americas, but only 21.6 per cent of these are in Latin America and the Caribbean, the PAHO said.

“We urge countries with extra doses to consider donating a significant portion of these to the Americas, where these life-saving doses are desperately needed and will be promptly used,” Etienne said.

Etienne also called on those in the region to observe public health measures, including wearing masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilating closed spaces when possible. She urged people to get vaccinated when called on by national governments, adding, “Vaccines are safe and effective and a major tool to stop this pandemic.”