Argentina breaks record for COVID-19 cases with nearly 100,000 daily infections

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People line up to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid a spike in cases, outside Pirovano Hospital, in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 4, 2022. REUTERS / Agustin Marcarian

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BUENOS AIRES, Jan.6 (Reuters) – Argentina on Wednesday broke its record for COVID-19 infections, approaching 100,000 daily cases as it faces a third wave of the pandemic, driven by the highly variant infectious disease of Omicron.

But the record 95,159 officially confirmed cases, in the midst of the southern hemisphere’s summer vacation season with tourist hubs full of travelers, has not translated into a similar exponential rise in COVID-related deaths, which totaled 52.

“We do not have a strong impact on intensive therapy units and less in terms of deaths,” the chief of staff of the Ministry of Health, Sonia Tarragona, told local radio Urbana Play. “The cases are mild or moderate and they do not put pressure on the health system.”

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Argentina has ramped up its vaccination campaign in recent months, which started with the Sputnik V vaccine, then added AstraZeneca and Sinopharm and, later, CanSino, Pfizer and Moderna.

Tarragona has said it does not know “what the infection ceiling will be,” but some experts believe the actual number among the country’s 45 million people is already large.

“Today in Argentina, we could quietly be at around 150,000 or 200,000 cases of new infections a day,” biochemist Jorge Geffner told Reuters TV.

He estimated that the peak of infection could occur in mid-January.

Neighboring Brazil had 27,267 new daily cases and 129 deaths, the government said on Wednesday. Read more

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Reporting by Agustin Geist and Lucila Sigal; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by John Stonestreet and Mark Porter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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