SAO PAULO, Brazil: Just as Buenos Aires, Argentina is opening up its economy after what is seen as the city's successful lockdown, neighboring Sao Paolo, Brazil is locking down due to a surge in Covid infections.
Speaking to reporters this week, Governor Joo Doria of Sao Paulo said the city of nearly 12 million people might be facing its worst two weeks of the pandemic, as well as the scenario in which its health care system could collapse.
Doria noted that over 75 percent of the city's intensive care beds are now occupied by patients infected with Covid. Additionally, some private hospitals report their intensive care units are 100 percent occupied.
In a bid to reduce infections, Doria said the 46 million people throughout the state will begin a stringent lockdown on Saturday, which includes the closing of all bars, restaurants, shopping malls and any other locations labeled non-essential. This closure will continue until at least March 19.
In Buenos Aires, with its population of nearly 3 million, only 26 percent of intensive care hospital beds are occupied by Coronavirus patients.
And due to the low infection rate, restaurants were allowed to reopen until 2 am beginning in mid-February.
Also, Buenos Aires' well-known steak houses have reopened, along with its casinos, and there are talks about how to reopen soccer stadiums.
In Brazil, however, not only is there no talk about soccer, but the largest stadium in Sao Paolo is being used as a vaccination center.
Early on, in March, Argentina's President Alberto Fernndez imposed a lockdown that continued until October; one of the longest in the world.
In Brazil, on the other hand, President Jair Bolsonaro questioned the importance of wearing face masks, as well as just how dangerous COVID-19 was. He also kept the economy open.
Today, with 35 Covid deaths per one million residents, Brazil's death rate is nearly triple the rate in Argentina.
Argentina still remains vigilant, as figures released on Wednesday show 262 deaths and more than 8,700 new infections throughout the country. But movie theaters have reopened and there is a sense that the worst is over in Argentina.
(File photo. Credit Maurcio Guardiano | Unsplash)