Pandemic Reaches 'The End of the World'

Argentina now has 1M cases as disease spreads to remote areas
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2020 4:53 PM CDT
Pandemic Reaches 'The End of the World'
Medical staffers evacuate an elderly woman from a nursing home in Buenos Aires after multiple residents tested positive for the coronavirus in April.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

At the edge of Argentina in a city known as "The End of the World," many thought they might be spared from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. Sitting far from the South American nation's bustling capital, health workers in Ushuaia were initially able to contain a small outbreak among foreigners hoping to catch boats to the Antarctic at the start of the crisis. But as Argentina passed 1 million virus cases Monday, it is now smaller cities like Ushuaia that are seeing some of the most notable upticks, the AP reports. Doctors have had to quadruple the number of beds for COVID-19 patients over the past month. At least 60% of those tested recently are coming back positive for the virus. "We were the example of the country," said Dr. Carlos Guglielmi, director of the Ushuaia Regional Hospital. "Evidently someone arrived with the coronavirus."

Across Latin America, three other nations are expected to reach the 1 million case milestone in the coming weeks—Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Latin America continue to register some of the world’s highest daily case counts. And though some nations have seen important declines, overall there has been little relief, with cases dropping in one municipality only to escalate in another. The trajectory is showing that the pandemic is likely to leave no corner of Latin America unscathed; half of the 10 countries with the highest total cases around the globe are in Latin America. "The second wave is arriving without ever having finished the first," said a public health professor. Argentina has seen cases spiral despite instituting one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Rather than a second virus wave like that being seen in Europe, epidemiologists now anticipate a more sustained, plateau-like trend.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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