The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted the importance of wearing masks and social distancing, in order to reduce the cases of Covid-19 . During a press conference, Jarbas Barbosa, the entity’s assistant director, stated that studies show that the use of masks alone can reduce cases of the disease by 10% to 20%.
“Vaccination and measures such as the use of masks bring the end of the pandemic closer,” said Barbosa.
Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, said hospitalizations for the virus have decreased in South America. According to her, in the last week there were 1.5 million cases and almost 20,000 deaths by Covid-19 in the Americas. And, despite the number of deaths having declined, cases remain at a “high level” in the region.
Etienne stressed that the priority now is to make vaccinations reach the world, in order to cover the groups most vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly and health professionals.
Still, the director stated that countries should increase vaccination coverage to 80% or more of the population, as this would be the level to control transmissions, according to models that study the Covid-19 pandemic.
On a booster dose, the board said PAHO now has no evidence to defend a third dose of vaccine. She commented that studies are being carried out and that reinforcement could be indicated only for some groups, such as the immunocompromised or the elderly.