Argentina surpassed the grim tally of 10,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, with the number of confirmed cases nearing 500,000.
The figures, confirmed by the Health Ministry in its daily update, underline the extent of the crisis in Argentina. The country now ranks among the top 10 globally for infections and is in 16th place for fatalities.
On Monday, 271 new deaths were recorded, lifting the overall count to 10,129. A total of 487,994 infections have been recorded, with 9,215 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Argentina has registered an average daily count of more than 10,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 last week.
"It is a high number, that although it was within the hypotheses when it appears, it is never well received," said infectologist Eduardo López, a member of the committee of experts who advise the president. "We will have an increase curve for the next three weeks, and we think that after the fourth [week] of September the cases will decrease or decrease slowly,"
Of the close to half a million total infections, around 85 percent are concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA), where some 15 million of Argentina's 44 million inhabitants live. In recent weeks, attention has turned to other provinces, such as Jujuy in the north and Mendoza in the west, where new outbreaks have been recorded.
Healthcare professionals have warned that intensive care units (ICUs) are increasingly feeling the strain. Officials said Monday that 61.9 percent of ICU beds are occupied nationwide, rising to 67.8 percent in the AMBA region. Doctors, however, warn the issue is more to do with staffing levels, especially with many health workers becoming infected themselves.
“Right now the system is under stress, especially in intensive care areas, but the occupational area is not saturated yet. Medical and auxiliary personnel are really tired given the pressure they are facing,” said López.
Many citizens, however, seems to be tiring of quarantine restrictions, which were first put in place on March 20 by President Alberto Fernández's government in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. Despite the rise in infections in the capital and several cities in other provinces, over the last two months a number of anti-government protests have taken place in Buenos Aires, with anger about the length of the lockdown heading a long list of complaints.
Almost all of Argentina's provinces and districts have authorised a gradual and controlled relaxation of quarantine measures, with most activities allowed to restart with health and sanitary measures put in place. The
Nevertheless, almost six months on from the introduction of social isolation measures, life is far from back to normal. In the nation's capital, public transport remains limited only to essential workers, schools and universities remain shuttered and all public sporting and entertainment events are prohibited. In most some regions today, some form of lockdown remains in place, though for the most part, rules are not strictly enforced as they previously were.