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US drives surge of COVID cases in the Americas, PAHO says

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COVID-19 cases in the Americas surged 27.2 percent last week from the prior one, driven primarily by a spike in infections in the United States, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

More than half of a total 918,000 infections came from North America as US cases jumped by 33 percent to 605,000 in the last week, PAHO said.

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Infections in North America have now been climbing for the past seven weeks, it said.

PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne noted that many countries and local governments are abandoning masking and social distancing requirements and have reopened borders after a period of lower transmission.

However, too many people remain at risk as only 14 of the 51 countries and territories in the Americas have reached the World Health Organization's goal of vaccinating 70 percent of their population, she added during a news conference.

Read more: Shanghai hits prized ‘zero COVID’ status but lockdown lingers

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