Despite imposing one of the world’s longest lockdowns, Argentina has one of the worst current rates of infection and death, and has not been able to bend the curve on the coronavirus even as outbreaks ease in some of its hardest-hit neighbors.
While the virus appears to be slowing in Brazil and Peru, where death rates have been high, Argentina’s outbreak is accelerating. Daily cases have stabilized in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area but are growing beyond it and beginning to spread to more remote, and often poorer, provinces. Those areas have fewer medical resources, and some have seen their medical facilities overwhelmed, like the northern province of Jujuy.
“This spill to the interior of the country is potentially very dangerous,” said Tomás Orduna, an infectious disease specialist who is one of the doctors advising the government on its virus response. “Now that the virus is spreading to areas where the health systems could easily collapse, we run the risk of the death rate quickly increasing.”
The country’s test positivity rate has hovered around 50 percent for weeks, meaning that almost one out of every two tests for the virus is positive.
On Thursday, Argentina reported a single-day high of 12,701 new daily cases. More than 77,000 of the country’s 600,000 infections.
Argentina imposed a strict national lockdown in mid-March and closed its borders. Most commercial air travel was grounded, and movement among provinces was severely restricted, which helped keep most cases concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, home to almost one-third of the country’s population. However, measures have been relaxed and tightened as cases ebbed and flowed.