In the San Vicente cemetery in the central Argentine city of Cordoba, Sandra del Valle Pereyra, 50, has come to visit the graves of her parents who both died from COVID-19 that has ripped through the South American nation.
“I have been left alone,” Valle Pereyra told Reuters, saying that she and her siblings were isolating from one another to avoid contagion. “First my mother died and then my father. I don’t know what to feel any more about this terrible disease.”
Argentina has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the region in terms of cases and deaths per capita, with some 4.7 million confirmed infections and a death toll from the pandemic that hit 100,000 on Wednesday. (Graphic on cases and deaths)
Daily average cases have fallen since a peak last month and ICU bed occupancy is coming down, though still above 60% nationwide.
“Every life that has gone is a great regret for me,” President Alberto Fernandez said in a speech last week. “I guarantee that we are not going to stop in these months vaccinating each and every Argentine man and woman.”
While developed countries like the United States have reduced fatalities with rapid inoculation programs, countries in South America have topped the charts for daily per capita cases and deaths, with vaccines rollouts stalled by slow supply.
Argentina, a country of some 45 million people, has carried out 25.7 million vaccine jabs, though only around 5 million people are inoculated with the full two doses, mainly using Russia’s Sputnik V, AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) vaccine and China’s Sinopharm (1099.HK).
The vaccine rollout is raising hopes that the country can control the pandemic, but the more contagious Delta variant is igniting surges in cases even in countries like Israel with high vaccination rates, causing them to rethink their vaccination campaigns.