Graphic: Has the two-week strong lockdown been enough?

16th July 2020

By The Essential Staff

Graphic: Has the two-week strong lockdown been enough?

The trio of President Alberto Fernández, BA City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof agreed to return to a strong lockdown two weeks ago, seeing how cases were steadily growing. But with the 15 days of Phase One restrictions almost over, stats on the spread of the COVID-19 virus are not showing much improvement, and the government is now between a rock and a hard place, as tolerance for the lockdown is diminishing while cases and deaths reach new highs.

</p> <img class="wp-image-10458 aligncenter" src="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01.jpg" alt="COVID-19 cases per week per region" width="624" height="360" srcset="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01.jpg 2500w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-300x173.jpg 300w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-1024x591.jpg 1024w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-768x443.jpg 768w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-1536x886.jpg 1536w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-2048x1181.jpg 2048w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-01-600x346.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 624px) 100vw, 624px" /> <p>No measure is perfect given that, on the one hand, deaths come with a lag of a month or more from the moment of contagion, while cases are spotted quickly but are clearly being <a href="https://gettheessential.com/politics/2020/06/18/covid-19-spreads-quietly-in-argentina-as-tests-prove-insufficient">underdetected</a> in Argentina. But given that testing capabilities don&#8217;t seem to have changed much over the last two weeks of strong lockdown, the case comparison still seems to provide a useful overview of the situation.</p> <p>Cases have continued to grow in Buenos Aires Province, and although BA City had shown some signs that could point out to some flattening of the curve, the latest data from yesterday (not included in the graph above) brought new record detection on all levels, nationally (with more than 4000 cases), in BA Province (2700+) and in BA City (1200+). With the lockdown fully lifted in the rest of the country, cases have grown at an ever higher pace lately, although starting from a lower level.</p> <p>So what will the trio announce tomorrow, two weeks after the strong lockdown but with no evidence of stopping contagions? Epidemiologists close to the government suggest that, despite the continued spread of the pandemic, some restrictions <a href="https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/cuarentena-a-que-hora-habla-alberto-fernandez-nid2385350">will be eased</a>. This might not be their preferred alternative, but the government believes it needs to cede some ground politically in order to not fully lose the support of a broad sector of society which has struggled with their lives and their businesses since the start of the lockdown.</p> <img class="wp-image-10459 aligncenter" src="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02.jpg" alt="Mobility has not been cut as much in Buenos Aires' return to Phase 1 of the lockdown when compared to the first strict restrictions in March and April" width="592" height="382" srcset="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02.jpg 2500w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-300x193.jpg 300w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-1024x660.jpg 1024w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-768x495.jpg 768w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-1536x990.jpg 1536w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-2048x1321.jpg 2048w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/16-jul-02-600x387.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 592px) 100vw, 592px" /> <p>Interestingly, mobility data suggests that circulation in Buenos Aires has been significantly higher during the recent return to a &#8220;Phase 1&#8221; strict lockdown than during the first one, a sign that social obedience is not the same as during the start of the pandemic. With the government conscious that the <a href="https://gettheessential.com/politics/2020/07/08/fernandez-is-not-thinking-about-the-post-pandemic">fight with COVID-19 will be a long one</a>, officials are thinking that there still will be time to toughen up again when the pressure on the country&#8217;s health care system comes closer to its limits.</p> <p>

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The Essential Staff

The Essential is a premium subscription-based news platform that brings you high quality journalism and in-depth coverage in English about the changing face of Argentina’s politics and economy.