by Linda Straker
- Covid-19 is showing no sign of slowing down in region
- As of 20 July, there have been 7.7 million cases reported in Americas
- PAHO in partnership with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO has recommended that Grenada and other countries in the Americas use data to tailor their Covid-19 response.
“Countries must rely on accurate and timely data about the spread of Covid-19 to guide their actions,” she said in a virtual news conference on Tuesday, 21 July 2020. “Analysing this data in real-time will help leaders determine whether it is safe to consider reopening or whether it is more important than ever to boost hospital capacity and implement the public health measures that we know save lives,” she said while disclosing that Covid-19 is showing no sign of slowing down in the region.
Dr Etienne said that it is through more detailed data that her organisation and other health professionals have learnt that some people are more prone to get sick from Covid-19 that others. “Research shows that certain underline chronic conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension as well as infectious diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis place people at interest risk for more severe Covid-19 disease.”
She reminded journalists that many of these medical conditions are widespread in the Americas and this makes the region more vulnerable to severe illness.
PAHO as an organisation has formed a partnership with a London entity that will result in increased use of data and, according to Dr Etienne, the information gathered and analysed so far is worrisome. “Thanks to a new partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, PAHO has developed a data model that provides a more accurate picture of the prevalence of health conditions in our region and what we see is worrisome,” she said. “Across the Americas 3 out of 10 people or nearly 325 million people are at increased risk of developing severe Covid-19 illness due to underline health condition.” Sharing some of the data already analysed, she disclosed the data showed men are twice as likely as women to be at high risk of developing severe Covid-19.
She said that the tool will enable countries to use regional and country-specific data on the prevalence of comorbidities to adapt their Covid-19 response and to better protect their vulnerable populations from chronic that threaten their health. “Data must underpin our actions; first knowing who is at risk will help countries develop strategies to protect people with comorbidity,” she said.
As of 20 July, there have been 7.7 million cases and more than 300,011 deaths reported in the Americas.