Argentina coronavirus cases reached 3 million on Sunday since the pandemic began, as medical staff said hospitals were full to capacity despite hard government measures to curb the spread of infections.
There were 11,394 new cases over the last 24-hour period, said the country’s health ministry, bringing up the grim new milestone, with 156 new deaths taking fatalities to 64,252.
The government of President Alberto Fernandez this week revealed a new round of tougher restrictions as a second wave of infections has battered the country, filling up intensive care units and setting new daily records for cases and deaths.
But medical staff said it was still not enough, as “people need to be more aware and know that hospitals are at full capacity, and that health personnel are exhausted,” said Luciana Berti, a 41-year-old surgical assistant.
The South American grains producer, which has gone through three straight years of recession, exacerbated by the pandemic, is balancing the need to stem the spread of the virus while protecting a fragile economic recovery.
Marcela Cid, owner of a business on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, said that Argentines were increasingly “locked into a situation” that while necessary, was of little help to anyone trying to move beyond the pandemic.
Argentine pediatrician Carlos Kambourian said that the key would speed up a stalled vaccination campaign. Otherwise, he warned, hospitals would be overwhelmed. Intensive care beds are around 68.1 percent occupied nationally, government data show.
“We can continue to extend measures every 15 days from here until two years from now if we don’t do what needs to be done, which is to test and vaccinate, test and vaccinate,” he said.