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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Jan. 13, 2022: The omicron variant is now in every Latin American nation, PAHo said Wednesday.

The Pan American Health Organization said the variant has led to a doubling of cases during the past week.

During a regular news briefing on Wednesday, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said cases across the Americas rose to 6.1 million on January 8, from 3.4 million cases on January 1.

Etienne said the Omicron variant has been detected in 35 countries in the Americas – nearly every country in the region – and it is soon expected to become the most dominant variant.

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Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil have been experiencing significant increases in new cases, she said, while in Argentina and Paraguay COVID-19 infections have increased by nearly 300 percent over the last week.

The United States, PAHO said, is reporting the bulk of the new cases, with states in the East and Midwest regions experiencing the most rapid surges.

“Infections are accelerating across every corner of the region of the Americas, and once again, our health systems are being challenged as emergency room visits and hospitalizations are rising,” Etienne said.

The new data came as nations around the world were seeing record high increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rates, driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant – putting pressure on already strained health systems.

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