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W.H.O. Warns of Dire Threat of Covid During Pregnancy in Latin America

W.H.O. Warns of Dire Threat of Covid During Pregnancy in Latin America

The coronavirus pandemic could “wipe away 20 years of hard-fought gains” in reducing maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean, and countries in the region should prioritize those who are pregnant and those who have recently given birth in their vaccination campaigns, officials at the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.

“So far, more than 270,000 pregnant women have become sick with Covid in the Americas and more than 2,600 of them — or 1 percent of those infected — have died from the virus,” Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, a division of the W.H.O., said at a news conference.

Pregnancy enhances vulnerability to respiratory infections, including Covid-19, and is associated with a higher likelihood of serious Covid symptoms.

Most countries have reported higher numbers of cases and deaths during pregnancy in 2021 than in all of last year, and in Mexico and Colombia Covid-19 has become the top cause of maternal death this year. Mexico, Argentina and Brazil have accounted for half of all maternal Covid-19 deaths in the Americas, Dr. Etienne said.

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