Pregnant women are at increased risk of presenting with severe forms of COVID-19, according to recently published results and studies. PAHO asks countries to ensure prenatal care services
Washington, September 22, 2020 (PAHO) — Since the first cases of COVID-19 in the Americas, 60,458 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among pregnant women, including 458 deaths, or 1%, in 14 countries, according to a new Epidemiological Update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Until September 14, the highest number of deaths were reported by Mexico, with 140 deaths among 5,574 cases in pregnant and postpartum women, followed by Brazil, with 135 deaths in 2,256 women who had COVID-19. The United States had 44 deaths among 20.798 women, Colombia reported 40 deaths in 2,726 pregnant women, and Peru had 35 deaths among 19,909 pregnant and postpartum women. Panama had 8 deaths in 525 pregnant women, showing the highest maternal mortality ration of 10.1 of the countries reporting.
PAHO has asked countries in the Americas to step up efforts to ensure access to prenatal care services for pregnant women, noting that “Recently published results and studies based on COVID-19 surveillance data have indicated an increased risk among pregnant women of presenting with severe forms of COVID-19 and, therefore, of being hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units.”
PAHO’s recent epidemiological update notes that 2,619,938 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 74,670 deaths, have been reported in the Region of the Americas, representing a 21% increase in cases and a 17% increase in deaths since August 26.
The highest increase in cases was observed in Central America, with a 28% increase in cases and a 22% increase in deaths, followed by South America, with a 26% increase in cases and a 23% increase in deaths. The Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean Islands reported a 24% increase in cases and a 34% increase in deaths, while North America, which includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico, showed a 16% increase in cases and a 12% increase in deaths, the report said.
Increased cases in indigenous populations
Among indigenous populations, 11 countries reported 120,593 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,639 deaths since the previous epidemiological update of August 26. A relative increase in cases and deaths was observed in all the countries with available data, with Colombia representing the largest relative increase in cases and Ecuador representing the largest relative increase in deaths in indigenous populations, the report said.
The report also noted that 16 countries have reported multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in children and adolescents, with 1,503 cases of MIS temporally related to COVID-19, including 43 deaths.