The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases surged by nearly 30 percent across the Americas in just one month, the Pan American Health Organization warned Wednesday, releasing figures for November.
By the end of October, infections registered in North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean for the whole pandemic stood at 20.5 million, according to PAHO figures.
A month later, the total had climbed by more than six million to 26.9 million.
That includes "record-setting daily cases registered in North America," PAHO director Carissa Etienne said.
In the United States, Etienne said that more than 96,000 people are hospitalized—"the highest number since the onset of the pandemic."
The US is seeing more than 150,000 new cases a day and fears a coronavirus super-surge following extensive travel over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Canada, which is seeing fresh outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, is also seeing worrying surges along with Brazil, and Cuba.
"These continuing cases of COVD-19 are why we must act swiftly, especially in places where the caseload has not been controlled," Etienne said.
As the world inches closer to a vaccine, "we must continue to rely on the public health measures that we can all take and that have helped to curb previous outbreaks: relying on stay-at-home measures, practicing social distancing and wearing masks."
She called for "vigorous government action" to ensure testing and efforts to isolate and quarantine patients.
"We have the tools at our disposal, let's use them," Etienne said.
Close to 1.5 million people globally had died from the coronavirus by 1800 GMT Wednesday, according to an AFP count based on official sources, while more than 64 million have been infected.
© 2020 AFP