Cases surge in Argentina, raising questions about what is to come in South America.


Over the past week in Argentina, an average of 15,690 new cases have been reported daily, according to data compiled by The New York Times. From Monday to Tuesday, 33,902 new cases were reported, the highest figure since June 2, according to the Health Ministry. The city of Buenos Aires, and central Córdoba Province, which has been particularly hard-hit, reported their highest figures since the pandemic began.

Testing centers were nearly empty only weeks ago. Now lines are long, and the positivity rate is nearing a staggering 30 percent, according to Health Ministry figures.

Despite the sharp increase in cases, President Alberto Fernández dismissed on Tuesday the possibility of imposing mobility restrictions at the height of summer holidays. The country endured one of the world’s strictest quarantines early in the pandemic.

For now, officials are optimistic that the soaring numbers of cases have not translated into overrun intensive care units and higher death tolls.

“In comparison to other waves, the number we have now is of fewer than 1,000 people in intensive care units and the number of deaths is very stable,” the health minister, Carla Vizzotti, said in a radio interview on Tuesday, pushing citizens to get vaccinated as the best way to combat the uptick.

Even though South America got a later start than much of the world in inoculating its population, it now has a higher vaccination rate than Europe, North America and Asia, and significantly lower vaccine skepticism.

Chile has fully vaccinated 87 percent of its population, one of the highest rates in the world. Argentina’s population is now 72 percent fully vaccinated, and Brazil’s is 68 percent. By comparison, the United States has fully vaccinated 62 percent of its people.



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