More than one million people have died of Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to an AFP count based on official figures as of Friday at 2105 GMT. The region has also recorded more than 31.5 million infections.
More than 90 percent of deaths have been registered in just five countries that account for 70 percent of the region's population: Brazil (446,309 dead), Mexico (221,080), Colombia (83,233), Argentina (73,391) and Peru (67,253).
"The lives of a million people have been cut short because of Covid-19. This is a tragic milestone for all of the region's inhabitants," said Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
"This pandemic is far from over and is hitting Latin America hard, affecting our health, economies and entire societies. However, only three percent of our population has been vaccinated."
Brazil continues to record the largest number of new daily deaths with an average of almost 2,000 this week, although that's a one-third drop from six weeks ago when it surpassed 3,000. Mexico has made even better progress, dropping from 1,300 daily deaths at the end of January to an average of 170.
At the other end of the spectrum, Bolivia and Ecuador have seen daily deaths increase by 44 percent and 35 percent respectively over the last week.
Etienne blamed the slow vaccine rollout in the region for the problems.More than 153.5 million people in the Americas have been vaccinated against Covid-19, PAHO said, but only 21.6 percent of those have been in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"The region is an epicentre of Covid-19 suffering. It should also be an epicenter for vaccinations," said Etienne.
In the United States, almost half the population has received at least one dose while close to 85 percent of the over 85s have had both, PAHO said. Consequently the country has seen a huge reduction in new cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
"We urgently need more vaccines for Latin America and the Caribbean," said Etienne.