Though the cases had been low since a few months, the cases of COVID-19 are now rising yet again in South America. However, the medical officials hope that the solid vaccination rates would imply less consequences as opposed to the last one.
However, the Argentinian, Chilean and Uruguayan authorities are worried that people aren’t really prepared or following measures to make sure the cases don’t cross unnecessary numbers. As days pass by, cases are surging backed the BA.2 variant of the omicron variant. Chile witnesses doubled confirmed cases at the end of the May month in comparison to the start. Argentina saw a 146% rise in the same phase and Uruguay is at almost 200%.
Even though the cases haven’t hit the previous number, the increase is a hard reminder how far we are from the end of the pandemic. Carla Vizzotti, the health minister of Argentina, claimed that the country was stepping into the fourth wave. Begoña Yarza, the Chilean minister characterized the current situation as an ‘inflection point’. Luis Lacalle Pou, the President of Uruguay expressed his worry and has asked the citizens to stay vigilant.
All the countries in the continent have been taken along this wave of rising cases. The head of the Pan American Health Organization, Carissa Etienne during an online conference in the previous week, has declared COVID being on the surge in the Americas.
It is time for the residents to become aware of the increase and rethink their precautionary measures again. A local resident standing outside a testing center, “There were numerous cases in my family after my birthday last week.”
There have been no serious hospitalization or records of death as yet. This has been credited to the 80% vaccination rate of the population within the three countries. Many have received their two doses.
The President of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases has also assured how the situation is different from the previous times and we are in a better place.
Uruguay has recorded a doubling of occupied beds which is a 1.5% increase from the start of the month and about 3% from the mid of May. Even though the numbers have surged, they are still small. The president of the Uruguayan Society of Intensive Care Medicine, Julio Pontet claimed the protection from severity of the cases was credible to the higher rates of vaccination. A mathematical epidemiology researcher said how there was an observed lag between the increase in cases and the patients admitted to the hospital. The death toll should stay low.
Chile reveals in the fact of having the highest percentage of vaccinated citizens with the most booster shots administered in the world. Many locals (around 80%) have now been given at least a third dose.
This was made possible through the government issuing strict laws that made it indirectly compulsory for everyone to be vaccinated. For instance, from June the mobility pass was eliminated for anyone who didn’t get a second dose within six months of the first. This would restrict entry into public spots like bars, cafes and large gatherings.
In some countries, the issue has circled down to the vaccination campaign failing as many still haven’t got their boosters. Argentina’s Cordoba National University’s professor, specializing in infectious diseases, Hugo Pizzi has given the numbers, “There is an enormous percentage of people who don’t have the adequate vaccination, four million people only have one dose, 10 million only have two and there’s a group that does not have any.”
Some residents have an apathetic, ignorant attitude towards the virus saying how the three doses seem to be protection enough. Many are also finding it hard to get tested due to lack of active centers. With the virus still deciding to stay on, the need of the hour is to ‘maintain and strengthen’ the existing testing facilities.