It is no secret to anyone paying attention to life in Buenos Aires City that prevention measures against the spread of the COVID-19 virus have been significantly relaxed. Friend and family gatherings are taking place more often both outdoors and indoors, shops are open, bars are more crowded, and no one seems to know how to properly wear a mask.
Some of this makes sense, of course: simply halting economic activity is an impossible ask, especially in a country as broke as Argentina, and the same is true of social meetings following months of isolation, especially considering that the summer now makes them less dangerous.
Still, considering that neighboring Latin American countries are registering a strong pick up in cases over the last couple of months, and that large gatherings such as Diego Maradona’s funeral, political rallies and clandestine parties seem to be taking place without much worry, there’s good reason to keep a very close eye on whether the declining trend seen at home since the spring continues, or if it starts showing signs of reversing.
The latest data suggests that reasons for worry exist. Cases in Buenos Aires city have stabilized above 300 per day, and the 7, 14 and 28-day moving averages are starting to slowly crawl up for the first time in months.
Given the virus’ potential for exponential expansion, authorities in the Buenos Aires metropolitan region, as well as at the Federal level, are already showing their concern. Health Minister Ginéz González García met with his counterparts from Buenos Aires Province (Daniel Gollán) and Buenos Aires City (Fernán Quirós) yesterday, and the three offered a joint press conference afterwards expressing their worry about a possible pick up in cases before winter season returns.
“The central topic of our meeting was our worry about the evolution of contagions. Although we have been very happily observing a decrease in cases throughout the country for several weeks, we have also noticed that over the last few days the figures have stabilized. And with cases now going up in Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile, which has been a surprising development, we want to prevent deterioration and see what we can improve at home,” Health Minister Ginéz González García told the press, going on to promise increased testing and ask for more responsibility from the population as the end-of-year celebrations approach.