Wednesday, February 21, 2024

ARGENTINA | 07-04-2021 15:48

Doctor warns Argentina could be facing '35,000 cases daily' in next few months

Paediatrician and former director of Garrahan children's hospital, Carlos Kambourian, raises concerns over surge in Covid-19 infections in Argentina, the difficulties in implementing measures and the strain on the local healthcare system.

Argentine doctor Carlos Kambourian has raised the alarm over the record number of coronavirus cases recorded on Tuesday, arguing that measures to contain the virus" are insufficient to tackle the second wave. 

In an interview with Perfil, Kambourian, a paediatrician and former director of Hospital Garrahan, predicted that “in May, June and July we are going to have between 35,000 to 45,000 cases daily.”

He said that the record 20,870 cases reported on Tuesday did not surprise him. According to the doctor, “we have a strain of the virus which is twice or three times as contagious,” although he added that it is not yet known if new strains are solely responsible for the new surge.

“Unfortunately we can’t say one thing or the other — very few samples are being analysed. It was decided not to do so. Few tests are done per day and not many genome samples are analysed either,” he added.

Kambourian’s interview comes as the Alberto Fernández administration finalises the details of a new emergency decree that will introduce “more controls and restrictions” in Argentina. A 10pm-6am curfew for businesses, bars and restaurants has been proposed, amongst other restrictions.

“The measures to contain the virus aren’t going to work, they’re not going to be effective, they’re not going to be achieved. The generalised isolation is not going to work. They [the government] have lost credibility and authority. It has to be supplemented with mass testing.”

“I don’t believe they will achieve it. These measures have lost credibility with the people. The same pandemic is going to lead people to take their own measures when they see that there are positive cases in their circle or that there is a young person in intensive care. It works like that — it generates alarm and fear.”

Kambourian also warned that the healthcare system is overwhelmed. He said, “A family member of mine was waiting for a nasal swab for seven hours, this screams overwhelmed system. We are getting to the worst moments of last year, and we haven’t yet arrived to the winter period.”

“When the last intensive care bed becomes occupied, with this growth in cases it is very possible this image of people waiting in the door for a bed. Let’s look at Brazil, because we aren’t very far [from that],” Kambourian commented.

When asked whether the vaccine against coronavirus could mean fewer deaths in the second wave, he said: “Deaths are going to reduce very slightly with the small number of people that are vaccinated. We have seven million vaccine doses in the country and they have administered four million. There are three million vaccines that still have not been administered, it alarms me. Only 10 percent of the population is vaccinated, its not enough to face the second wave. As its going, it seems the vaccine will stop the virus in the midterm.”

Lastly, in regards to in-person classes, he said: “The level of infections in the classrooms isn’t something alarming, but measures such as extending the winter holidays for two or three weeks are going to be taken. It’s a possibility that classes will have to be suspended.”



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