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MOHW Reports Nine Hundred Forty New Cases of COVID-19

COVID-19 cases continue to cause national concern as today there were nine hundred and forty new cases. This follows a previous three days where Belize saw more than three thousand one hundred infections. Since the beginning of 2022, Belize recorded six thousand one hundred and eleven new cases. Active infections stand at seven thousand one hundred and five. Scientists firmly believe that the uptick in numbers in Belize and across the Americas, by and large, reflect increased cases of the omicron variant. PAHO’s Director Doctor Carissa Etienne said that the spike has been the largest increase the region has seen for many months.

Dr.Carissa F Etienne, Director, PAHO: The virus has quickly picked up pace over the holiday season reaching levels of transmission never seen before during this pandemic. Over the past week COVID infections have nearly doubled in the region of the Americas rising from 3.4 million on January 1st to 6.1 million on January 8th. To compare with last year during the week ending January 8th 2021 the Americas had reported a total of 2.4 million cases while this year by the same date there were six million reported cases representing a 250% increase year to year. Infections are accelerating across every corner of the Americas and once again our health systems are being challenged as emergency room visits and hospitalizations are rising nonetheless thanks to the protective power of vaccines in fact Covid deaths are not rising with the current wave of infections.” 

In Central America, Belize is one of the countries seeing the highest jumps in cases, but Doctor Etienne warns that the omicron variant has been seen in dozens of countries in the Americas thus far. However, she attributes the low number of fatalities the virulence of the virus and the slow but steady increase in vaccinations.

Dr.Carissa F Etienne, Director, PAHO: Meanwhile Belize and Panama are reporting the highest incidence of COVID in Central America. Today of course all eyes are on omicron which has reached nearly every country in the world. 42 countries and territories in all subregions of the Americas, North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean have already detected the omicron variant. Since countries are already experiencing widespread community transmission as omicron spreads more quickly than other detected variants and more likely via airborne transmission in closed spaces. And while delta is still causing new infections in the Americas based on current trends omicron is on track to become the dominant strain in our region. It also has led to a rise in reinfections even among those who are fully vaccinated. This new wave of infections it won’t be mild for our health systems as the omicron variant is already challenging our health workforce and limiting care for other diseases. In some smaller island states some hospitals were already strained by cases of the delta variant and now more hospitals face the prospect of being overwhelmed with cases. One of the characteristics that sets omicron apart seems to be less severe symptoms but even so omicron infections can be lethal especially for the immunocompromised and the unvaccinated.” 

Most of today’s cases were in Belize City, a trend we’ve noted across many reports by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. There were two hundred and one cases in the city today.///