The world faces critical and challenging times with the exponential expansion of COVID-19. After striking severely Asia and Europe, SARS-CoV-2 now advances alarmingly over the Americas. The United States is already the country with the highest numbers of reported cases and deaths in the world. The severity of the impact of COVID-19 could be similar or even worse in other countries of the Americas, where there are much less physical, human and financial local resources to deal with the pandemic.
Building upon vital concerns expressed in documents issued by organizations such as the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the G-Science group, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, we reassert the importance of making the best medical and scientific information widely available to support national and regional efforts to respond to the crisis and assure public health security. International cooperation and global solidarity are vital at this time and must be adopted as a practical and ethical commitment to help the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
Our region – comprising North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Region – is diverse and characterized by peculiarities, such as having some of the highest levels of urbanization and inequality on the planet. It is also typified by immense socioeconomic differences between and within countries, states, provinces, and cities. These factors will markedly influence the reaction capacity of populations and their ability to get through the crisis.
The Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) and its member Academies are available and ready to collaborate with governments, the private sector and society as a whole to support public health security in the Americas. We call on the governments of the region to work collaboratively, guided by the best medical and scientific knowledge. The challenges before us are enormous, but the difficulty in overcoming them will be greater if we allow selfishness to prevail. There is no room for predatory competition or actions that are self-serving. We are living in exceptional times that demand we collectively work for the common good.