COVID-19 statistics continue to deteriorate for Argentina. After boasting of initial success in the first months of the pandemic, days with government briefings showing more than 400 newly reported deaths have now become the norm. And although many of these fatalities are old ones that went unreported, it has meant that the country has reached the world’s number 1 position in new deaths per capita in several of the last few days.
The graph above shows deaths per capita across the world yesterday, September 23, in which Argentina reported 424 new fatal victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. When adjusted for the country’s population, the figure was higher than any other country in the world. And although by now it is clear that a majority of the deaths reported daily in Argentina come with days and sometimes weeks of lag, the fact that these numbers were not a one off occurrence shows how much the disease has spun out of control in the country.
A good comparison of the evolution of deaths is Brazil, whose President Jair Bolsonaro opted against most preventative measures (although local governments in Brazil did enforce lockdowns and social distancing practices). The total casualties quickly jumped in Brazil, who is still one of the countries with the largest amount of deaths in the world, and still has many more accumulated fatalities per capita than Argentina. But its southern Mercosur partner has now surpassed Brazil and the rest of the continent, even if only for a few days so far, in the new reported deaths per capita department.
Will Alberto Fernández’s strong lockdown still end up causing a big difference in terms of total deaths when compared to countries such as Brazil? There are still several months to go before safe vaccines are made available, so there’s room for Argentina’s numbers to deteriorate even further and for Brazil and others to keep accumulating fatalities.