The number of people infected with coronavirus in Argentina has fallen off by 85 percent between its May peak and last week, the Health Ministry reported last Wednesday (August 25).
According to the ‘Sala de Situación Nacional Covid-19’ analysis, 32,746 cases of coronavirus were reported last week, representing 85 percent less than the May peak of 225,504 people with the virus.
A lower number of people entering intensive care units due to the disease was also reported.
Compared with 11 weeks ago when there were 7,839 persons in intensive care beds, there was a 60 percent reduction in the week ending on August 20 when the serious cases totalled 3,173. Deaths have likewise been on a steady downward trend in the last 11 weeks.
"Thanks to the advance of the national vaccination plan against Covid-19 and the maintenance of precautionary measures, Argentina also registers a constant decline in the number of cases with this disease in the last 13 weeks," said the Ministry headed by Carla Vizzotti in a communiqué, spelling out the advance in the national vaccination plan as "81.8 percent of the population aged over 18 having already received their first dose while 33.3 percent are completely vaccinated."
The Ministry further detailed: "The [vaccination plan’s] objective for this month of having 60 percent of persons aged over 50 with a double dose of vaccine was surpassed, while rising to 67 percent of those aged over 60 as the age group most affected by this disease."
Among other data regarding the epidemiological situation, the Health Ministry added: "The cases are dipping in most regions of the country."
From the May peak with a daily average of 26,791 cases, there has been a sustained drop with a daily average of 20,116 in June, 13,264 in July and 6,922 thus far in August.
As for the recovery of patients, the official information reports 93.7 percent of infected persons back on their feet with a fatality rate of 2.15 percent nationwide.
"Compared to last year, a lower death rate for all age groups can be observed in 2021," points out the communiqué.
The distribution of confirmed cases by gender has remained sustained over time this year – 48.9 percent male and 50.1 percent female.
Regarding the vaccination plan, the Health Ministry has distributed 44,989,834 doses of vaccine while registering the application of 39,951,618 by the various jurisdictions.
This has resulted in a first dose for 81.4 percent of those aged over 30, 87.6 percent for the 40-plus, 89.9 percent for those aged over 50, 93.6 percent for the 60-plus, 92.4 percent aged over 70 and 83.6 percent of those beyond 80.
The communication adds that complete vaccination has been achieved for 47.4 percent of those aged over 50, 65.8 percent of the 60-plus, 79.2 percent of those aged over 70 and 74.2 percent of people beyond 80.
Football with fans
In dialogue with FM Radio Con Vos, Vizzotti pointed out on Wednesday that such easing of restrictions as the September 9 World Cup qualifying match in River Plate’s Monumental stadium has been decided after "13 weeks of falling cases and 11 weeks of less people entering intensive care wards or dying."
The minister further underlined that, as with any decision based on scientific evidence, "if it becomes necessary to revise it" from an epidemiological viewpoint, "it will have to be done."
She also remarked that since last July, when the government began to "plan the possibility of opening up activities," it had been thought that "September could be a good moment" to advance in that direction, "emerging from winter with plenty of people vaccinated."
With the auspicious official announcement of the 85 percent reduction of contagion from the May peak, the infectious diseases expert Tomás Orduna agreed that this is "a good time for Argentina" within the framework of the pandemic.
Nevertheless, he called for social distancing and preventive measures to be respected in the face of the presence of the Delta variant because "we might have to think of a further year of pandemic."
"We’re doing well in Argentina but if we stop gazing at our navels for a moment, we see that sub-Saharan Africa has only four percent of its population vaccinated on average and South Africa three percent," the Tropical Medicine chief of Muñiz Hospital, one of the committee of experts advising the Health Ministry, told Télam.
That situation and the Delta variant are two motives for Orduna to underline: "This pandemic won’t be over even at the end of this year, we should go thinking of a further year."