Will Argentina Stay Ahead of the Coronavirus? It depends.
Possibly due to strong cultural ties with hard-hit Italy and Spain, Argentina took the Coronavirus threat seriously early on, imposing a nation-wide lockdown on March 20th. But with a virus like this, lockdowns and prohibitions on movement are buying time, not preventing, an inevitable spread. So – is Argentina’s government using this borrowed time to stay in front of the virus?
There are only two things that matter if Argentina hopes to stay ahead of the coronavirus and prevent the massive fatality rates suffered in both developing and developed countries.
First, Argentina needs to find a way to massively test the population in an ongoing fashion.
Second, Argentina must access medical supplies and equipment like ventilators.
Everything else right now is secondary. The debt isn’t going anywhere, and Argentina won’t be able to make any payments of society descends into pandemic-induced chaos. Argentina has currently tested 188 people per million. This is far below Chile (2718), Uruguay (1458), and even Brazil (258).
In both economic and human terms, the collective sacrifice of the entire population in complying with strict quarantine measure will be worth nothing unless they allow Argentina to stay ahead of this virus.
Medical experts have reported that up to 50 percent of infected people could be asymptomatic, but Argentina is still only testing people sick enough to be hospitalized.
Until this policy is replaced by widespread testing, if Argentina ends mandatory quarantine, it’s not a matter of if we’ll look like Italy, but when.