Progression of COVID-19 under the highly restrictive measures imposed in Argentina

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Jose-Luis Sagripanti
US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Defense (retired), Annapolis, MD, United States.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3952-5838

Daniel R. Aquilano
Laboratorio de Análisis Bioquímicos Dr. Daniel R. Aquilano, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7178-5349

ABSTRACT

The variety and extent of non-pharmaceutical measures implemented by the government to control COVID-19 in Argentina were exceptional, making this country the best example to analyze the evolution of COVID-19 under the most stringent and longer-lasting restrictive policies- which included 119 days of strict nation-wide lock-down, 304 days of less restrictive lock-downs, and 35 days of curfews. Two of the three peaks of infection correlated with the germicidal solar flux received in Argentina, suggesting a seasonal component and a role for the virus persisting in the environment.

A massive public gathering crowding the presidential square in Buenos Aires, during which nearly half of those present were without face masks, did not alter the infection curve in that city. Comparative epidemiological data (standardized per million inhabitants) shows that COVID-19 in Uruguay, a neighboring country whose capital is at a similar latitude than Buenos Aires and who did not mandate lock-downs or curfews, progressed much slower (until vaccination started) than in Argentina.

The number of yearly deaths caused by respiratory diseases and influenza in Argentina before the pandemic was similar to the total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 cumulated on April 25, 2021, more than a year after the pandemic started. The failure to detect any benefit on ameliorating COVID-19 by the long and strict nation-wide lock-downs in Argentina should raise world-wide concerns about mandating costly and ineffective restrictive measures during ongoing or future pandemics.

 

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