COVID deaths in Latin America surpass one million

Latin America and the Caribbean have passed the grim milestone of 1 million lives lost to COVID-19, according to a Reuters tally on Friday.

In May, nearly one-third of the world's COVID deaths were in the region, which is home to less than 10% of the world’s population.

The pandemic has swamped underfunded healthcare systems across the region.

Brazil has been the hardest hit, recording a death toll of over 446,000.

Brazil’s death toll is followed by Mexico and Colombia, which together account for over 70% of the total in Latin America.

The region is also lagging behind on vaccinations.

In South America, only 15% of the population has received at least one shot, compared to 28% in Europe and 34% in North America.

The World Health Organization’s regional director for the Americas, Dr. Carissa Etienne, has called for a higher supply of vaccines to the region.

"Just three percent of Latin Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And we still have a long way to go to ensure that everyone is protected."

The Pan American Health Organization has slammed the quote "glaring gaps" in vaccine access between Latin America and the U.S., which has received the majority of the 400 million shots administered in the Americas.

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