More than 7 months following the first report of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), knowledge of the complications and sequelae of this disease has increased substantially. Through this alert, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) urges Member States to keep health professionals informed as new information continues to become available in order to strengthen the timely detection and proper management of COVID-19 cases, complications, and sequelae.
Between 10 July and 10 August 2020, an additional 4,433,115 cases of COVID-19, including 114,480 additional deaths, were reported in the Region of the Americas, for a cumulative total of 10,697,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 390,849 deaths. This represents a relative increase of 64% in cases and 37% in deaths compared to the number of new cases and deaths reported during the previous 4-week period (12 June to 9 July). The highest proportion of new cases were reported in the United States of America (44%) and Brazil (30%), while the highest proportion of new deaths were reported in Brazil (29%), the United States of America (26%), and Mexico (17%).
More than 7 months following the notification of the first COVID-19 cases (Joint Report of the WHO and the Government of China in February 2020), there have been advances in the knowledge of the disease, including but not limited to the source of infection; the pathogenesis and virulence of the virus; transmissibility; risk factors; effectiveness of prevention measures; surveillance; diagnosis; clinical management; and complications and sequelae, amongst others. However, there remain several gaps pertaining to these factors that still require contribution from the entire scientific community.
The intense transmission of COVID-19 in most of the countries and territories of the Americas, along with evidence generated from the scientific community, has increased our knowledge of several of these factors including those related to complications and sequelae from COVID-19. Knowledge of these factors is necessary to improve and adjust the prevention and control strategies of the pandemic.
The following is a summary of the available evidence regarding complications and sequelae of COVID-19.