Argentina did not get away from the lash of coronavirus that touched almost all countries. The question now is “even when”. While the new restrictions are a repeated figure (the economic drowning, the gloomy air of the empty streets in autumn, the businesses that mercilessly close you in the nose, the slump of the locked up boys …), the uncertain thing is to what extent the contagion curve could grow. Namely, when will the peak be.
Of the five sources consulted for these lines, Javier Farina, infectologist of the Argentine Society of Infectology (SADI), was the only one decided to take risks.
“Eight weeks“he ventured.
Although he stressed numerous times that “every prediction must be taken with a grain of salt, since there are too many variables at stake, especially, what measures are taken and the degree of compliance of the people ”, what Farina meant is that in two months (rounding it would be to early June) could occur the maximum number of infections in the AMBA.
Alberto Fernández announced new restrictions until the end of April due to the rise in coronavirus infections.
Estimating the daily number of infections is a game that should be relegated to subjective imagination. It is known that limited testing is a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with the unavoidable underreporting.
But the experts consulted agreed on a central message that should be addressed: Argentina does not represent no exception to no rule. What happened in the countries that have already passed the second wave works as a logical guide to better walk the path that is being traveled.
Looking at what happened here and there, Farina said that “the marked increase in the AMBA is likely to recede when cases rise in the large cities of the interior. This is going to take about eight weeks, no less. In 15 days there will be no big changes”.
In other words, the sociodemographic characteristics of the country will once again generate the phenomenon of “untimely”Which was already seen in 2020, when the exponential rise first occurred in the AMBA and then ran to the provinces, he explained.
“And since the peak does not occur everywhere at once, when you look at the national average, the shape of the contagion curve is possibly, again, that of a prolonged and clearly high plateau“, he estimated.
At the beginning of the talk, a high-ranking source from the Buenos Aires government remarked to this chronicler that “it is better not to venture peak dates.” “We screwed up all of them,” he admitted with the spirit at half mast. But then he agreed to share the hypothetical timeline of the Ministry of Health of CABA.
“We have a predictive analysis and it could be near the end of May. However, in Argentina we make mistakes so many times and there are so many adjustment variables that it is very difficult to forecast. They influence the penetration of Covid variants, the percentage of vaccinated population and how both factors interact ”, he explained.
If one looks at the AMBA it is not because of a preference centrist porteño: in 15 days, the city of Buenos Aires increased the weekly average of daily cases (measured by population) by 44%. The province, a fifty%.
Precisely, who gave a vision of the most populated province of the country was Juan Riera, Buenos Aires Hospital Director: “It is difficult to venture anything, mainly because everything possible is being done to slow down the rate of increase of cases ”.
Row of people who are considered a suspected Covid case and are waiting to be tested at the Teatro Colón. Photo Luciano Thieberger
Riera was very concerned about the levels of hospital occupancy. “They have a limit”, he pointed out, and explained that the Referrals due to lack of space to health centers located in some cases 100 kilometers away, are about 100 per day. However, “they are increasing,” he said. “Last year they had started at 35 and ended at 350 a day,” he added.
Del pico clarified that a date cannot be given: “We have been vaccinating at an important rate, but everything will depend on the availability of vaccines and compliance .of the measurements. The future scenario is uncertain”.
“Eight weeks? More? Less? It is not possible to know when the peak will be because there are variants with high contagiousness. What I can imagine is a scenario of clear epidemiological severity”, He ventured Roberto Debbag, vice president of the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectology.
Older adults are vaccinated against Covid on the Tecnópolis property. Photo EFE / Juan Ignacio Roncoroni
Of the measures announced this Wednesday by the President, he was critical: “It is not that the restriction on circulation is going to have a dramatic impact on infections. The intensity of what is coming can only be stopped with a policy of tracking, testing and isolation of patients, including asymptomatic, contact contacts and intensive and rapid vaccination. To my understanding, already it is very difficult to avoid the pandemic wave”.
For Debbag, “the opportunity to have a large population vaccinated with the first dose is already lost. Let’s not think that if we get vaccines quickly, the pandemic wave will stop ”.
Rodrigo Quiroga, one of the followers of epidemiological minutia, a research chemist at Conicet-UNC, an expert in Bioinformatics, adopted a similar tone: “Two weeks before the night-time restriction measures there was already enough evidence to act“.
For him, “the national authorities and those of many districts seem to have fear of generating panic. You have to tell people the truth. They are not children who can be scared. There was no doubt that what happened a month ago in Chile and Brazil was going to happen”.
Of the peak, Quiroga said that it is so impossible to know when it will be as to estimate its magnitude: “There are countries like Brazil that had a record of deaths and people were on the beach. There was no ‘bucket immunity‘. Last year yes. Now it is difficult to know how people are going to react ”.
In line with the recent rejection of the Head of Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, to the national measures, the source of the Buenos Aires Government remarked that “the cases that we see now are from Holy Week. There was no time to see an effect of the closing of the night”.
Press conference of the head of the Buenos Aires Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, in rejection of the national restrictions to alleviate the second wave of Covid. Photo Maxi Failla
In any case, he lamented, an attempt is being made to protect the population with a short blanket: “No measure we have taken in these more than 12 months is exempt from harm. If you care here, you neglect on the other hand. What tires me a lot is that everything goes to the crack“.
For now, nothing that happens surprises Farina much: “In absolute numbers, this wave is much higher, but it has already happened with the Spanish flu and other outbreaks: the second waves are always more powerful“.
It was known and could not be avoided, he outlined: “The second wave always starts from a floor that, unlike the first, is not zero. There are also the most contagious variants. And, finally and what I think is most important, the relaxation is almost total. People are tired and do not comply with the protocols ”.
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