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Increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Argentina calls for precaution, not alarm

Wednesday, November 30th 2022 - 18:55 UTC
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There are currently “less than 300 people in ICU for COVID-19 when we used to have 8,000 in times of stress,” Vizzotti explained There are currently “less than 300 people in ICU for COVID-19 when we used to have 8,000 in times of stress,” Vizzotti explained

Argentina's Health Minister Carla Vizzotti Wednesday issued a series of recommendations given the increase in the number of COVID-19 infections nationwide.

Although she admitted the total number of cases was not alarming, Vizzotti stressed some measures needed to be taken: “If someone has respiratory symptoms what they should do is stay at home,” the minister pointed out.

“It is the third week of increase of contagions, but that number does not make SARS-CoV2 circulate predominantly,” Vizzotti went on. “It is not a very important increase,” she also pointed out during a press conference.

According to Health Ministry statistics, infections grew by 50.4%, but since only hospitalized patients are tested, circulation could be higher, it was reported.

“With the Omicron variant we had almost 900,000 cases per week and now we are talking about 1500,” Vizzotti underlined while warning that this version of the coronavirus “cannot be eliminated” and will be “incorporated into the seasonal circulation like all respiratory viruses,” Vizzotti explained

“The virus cannot be eliminated because natural infection does not generate lifelong immunity,” said Vizzotti, who also acknowledged that “the vaccine does not prevent 100% of infections, it is a vaccine to reduce hospitalizations and deaths.”

There are currently “less than 300 people in ICU for COVID-19 when we used to have 8,000 in times of stress,” Vizzotti went on. “The key is vaccines,” she insisted while encouraging people to update their schemes. “Those who have had a booster 120 days ago can get vaccinated again with the third booster,” Vizzotti suggested.

“That vaccine is going to reinforce their immunity, especially among people over 50 years old, who have risk conditions, healthcare staff, [and] security and Armed Forces personnel.”

“It is very likely that even if they have Covid, this infection will not result in complications and deaths,” the minister explained while reminding people that the third booster (or fifth dose) “is already available.”

“Spontaneous vaccination is open in any province” and in some jurisdictions “appointments are sent to encourage vaccination,” the physician went on.

Vizzotti also said that “there will be no restrictions” [of movement] because “there is no risk of tension or overflow of the health system.”

Regarding Brazil's return to mandatory facemasks at airports and airplanes and also in Sao Paulo's public transport, Vizzotti said that in Argentina “since September 21 there is a recommendation to use chinstraps not only for Covid but for all respiratory viruses that are circulating steadily, especially in people with risk conditions and in closed places with poor ventilation.”

Recent reports showed that the most contagious subvariants of Omicron (BQ.1.1 and XBB.1) were circulating in Argentina. Known as “hellhound” and “nightmare” respectively, these substrains account for most of the new detections, while Omicron remained the sole variant currently circulating nationwide, according to the latest National Epidemiological Bulletin corresponding to the week of November 13-19.

According to the report, five ”different main lineages of Omicron have been globally reported: BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5 and their descendant lineages (BA.1.1, BA.2.12.1, among others). At present, the lineages descending from BA.5 Omicron continue to be dominant worldwide.”


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