Pan American Health Organization Director, Carissa Etienne, says COVID-19 has severely impacted the mental and physical health of children and adolescents in the Americas.
She urged countries to take several specific measures to protect them, including safe reopening of schools.
Dr. Etienne said over 1.5 million cases were reported in the region last year, while more than 1.9 million have already been reported in the first nine months of this year.
Dr Etienne said while children and young people generally experience mild or no symptoms, they can also develop severe illness.
Sexual and reproductive health services have been disrupted in more than half of countries in the region, and lockdowns and economic disruptions have increased the risk of domestic violence that can make home unsafe for children and adolescents.
Dr. Etienne also emphasized the negative impact of not attending school in person.