05/22/2020 - 19:41
China and the coronavirus were far away. Only when contagion began to appear in Spain and Italy, we Argentines understood that the pandemic could cross the ocean and touch us closely. On March 3, the first case imported into our country was known: a 43-year-old man, who had returned from Milan. He was admitted to a private clinic in the City. Almost three months later and after much more apocalyptic forecasts than the current one, this Friday we exceeded 10,000 infected with Covid-19 .
At the beginning of 2020, no one imagined that, by this date, we were going to be talking about quarantine, social distancing, face masks and gel alcohol. But, according to the infectologists, these measures were the ones that helped us to "make the situation not much worse today . "
"On March 19, before the mandatory quarantine, the pessimistic scenario estimated that by this date we would have more than one million infected," says Lautaro de Vedia, former president of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases. "The pandemic is not yet over. There is still a long way to go, we have challenges such as the situation in the nursing homes, the villas, the famous peak and the exit from quarantine, but we are doing things well," adds the specialist at the Muñiz Hospital.
We have been 89 days from that first infected. How do we get here? How was the evolution of infections? Who are affected so far?
According to data from the National Ministry of Health, the majority of those infected are part of the labor force population . They are between 20 and 59 years old. However, those who die as a result of virus complications are larger: on average, they are around 73 years old.
Confirmed cases by sex and age
Source: Ministry of Health Infographic: Clarín
Another relevant detail has to do with the fact that, with the advance of the coronavirus in the country, the average age of those infected is decreasing . The average was 42 years old when we reached the first 5,000 infected. He is now 39 years old . The 21% of those infected are between 30 and 39 years, is the decade with more cases. They are followed by those between 20 and 29 years old and 40 and 49 years old, who represent 17% of the positives each.
Contrary to what was said from the beginning, there are also infected minors: one in ten is under 18 years of age. And 5% of the total is under 9 years old. The official report was made on the basis of 8,900 positive cases: if the percentages were projected on 10,000 cases, the number of infected children today would be 500 .
For Eduardo López, an infectologist at the Gutiérrez Hospital, the reduction in the age of those infected and the increase in the number of new infections registered in recent weeks has to do with confirmed cases in emergency neighborhoods of the City. " Those infected in the villages are young . That is why they also tend to have mild or moderate symptoms and the percentage of deaths there is close to 1%," he says.
Analysis of confirmed cases
Source: Ministry of Health | About 8,891 cases Infographic: Clarín
According to the latest update from the Ministry of Human Development and Buenos Aires Habitat, there are already more than 1,870 infected in vulnerable neighborhoods of the City . And they represent 36% of the contagions in Capital. So far, the dead in Buenos Aires villas reach 17.
Meanwhile, the segment with the most deaths nationwide is one of the least infected . If all the patients over 60 years who tested positive are taken into account, they add up to 18% of the total. It is a wide strip since it covers almost five decades: the largest infected is 107 years old, she is from Buenos Aires and was admitted to a private clinic at the beginning of her major.
Record numbers of infections have been recorded in recent days. The highest was the spread this Friday with 718 infected in a single day, bringing the total number to 10,649 . Most of the new positives are from the Capital or from the province of Buenos Aires (3 out of 4), a relationship similar to what happens with the deceased.
The greatest increase in the contagion curve has been occurring in the City, which already has 42% of the country's cases . 33% is concentrated in the Province. Chaco (7%), Córdoba (4%) and Río Negro (3%) follow in the list of complicated jurisdictions in terms of number of positives.
The numbers show that the circulation of the disease is not the same throughout the country: "The interior is distant from the City and the GBA, where we have the most difficult panorama," warns López.
For each confirmed case, almost ten are discarded . The case fatality rate is 4.35%, while almost one in three infected people has already recovered (32%).
Of the total of the internees, 4.95% had to be referred to intensive care. Of these, just over half (52%) required mechanical assistance. Projected to 10,000 cases would be a total of 250 people. In addition, almost 64% of patients were attended in public sector hospitals , according to the detail of the Ministry of Health.
To date, only one in 10 infected had made a trip abroad . The rest contracted the virus by close contact (43.6%) or by community circulation (31.8%).
The situation was very different at the beginning of the pandemic, when most of the cases were imported. "The changes in relation to the origin of the infections reveal the transmission capacity of the virus, " says Vedia.
In early March, it was necessary to have traveled abroad or had close contact with a traveler to enter the definition of a suspected case, the only way to be tested.
This definition was expanded. The famous "epidemiological link" with countries already suffering from the effects of the pandemic was one of the requirements. This was modified when Argentina began to have community circulation.
The symptoms to pay attention to were, initially, fever accompanied by another sign that could be a sore throat, cough or shortness of breath. At that time, a person was considered to have a temperature of 38.5 degrees, then that also mutated. Now there is talk of fever starting at 37.5 .
Loss of taste and smell were added as symptoms and on some populations, such as prison, vulnerable neighborhoods, nursing homes and health personnel, it was decided to improve the sensitivity of the tests . "In these groups, fever is a plus sign, not an exclusive requirement. A person undergoes a diagnostic test if they have two symptoms. They can be a sore throat and a cough, for example," explains López.
The increase in infections, which led us to reach the 10,000 infected today, not only has to do with the evolution of the pandemic in the country, "but also with the progress in testing ." "With the intention of detecting new cases early to isolate them and thus keep the curve flat as much as possible," López concludes.
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