All 54 countries and territories in the Region of the Americas have reported COVID-19 cases and deaths. Since the 26 August 2020 PAHO/WHO Epidemiological Update on COVID-195 and as of 15 September 2020, 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.
On 31 December 2019, the People’s Republic of China notified a cluster of pneumonia cases with unknown etiology, later identified on 9 January 2020 as a novel coronavirus by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). On 11 February 2020, WHO named the disease “coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) named the virus “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).” On 11 March 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO Director-General, and on 31 July 2020, the WHO Director-General accepted the advice of the Emergency Committee, declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a PHEIC, and issuing the temporary recommendations to States Parties under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005).1 On 9 July 2020, the WHO Director-General announced the launch of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR), which will independently and comprehensively assess the lessons learned from the international health response to COVID- 19.