100 days of Lockdown: Flattening ALL the curves
Author: Ximena Díaz Alarcón, current PhD Candidate in Sociology (UCA – Universidad Católica Argentina). You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fieldsite: In strict lockdown in Buenos Aires, Argentina, connecting with informants digitally.
We are over our 100th day of lockdown in Argentina. One informant told me at the beginning of the week: “We must have one of the longest lockdowns in the world, it must be a record. At least we are in a world- record!!” A record number of days to keep off the escalating of a record number of deaths. That’s the spirit, that´s the aim and the promise we are bound to keep. But beyond the “flattening of the curve”, there is also the “flattening of the economy”. And the economy is another curve that worries Argentinians (even before pandemic times!).
As the Government keeps extending the lockdown and even going back to even stricter phases of it in some districts, time seems to be on a loop. There is no end in sight, neither for the pandemic nor for the downfall of the economy.
“With commerce shot down, the economy shot down…at least this time around, our bad times are strictly NOT our fault. We know about this cycle, it happens to us every couple of years, but this time…we don´t know how and WHEN it will end”. Argentinians know about the economic crisis.
The majority of my informants consider this topic to be a constant in our history and they think “we rise from it with our creativity and resilience…But you have to be ALIVE to be creative or resilient”.
“Of course, I want to take care of myself but I also need to work, I also want to see my friends again, be able to run in the street…simple things that I used to give for granted”. With these pandemic times and the consequent lockdown, structural struggles and social tensions seem to have resurfaced, accelerated, and deepen. Resources versus care, health over the economy, control versus freedom.
A prior exception to let runners run at night in Buenos Aires was revoked this week with a new peak in Coronavirus cases. Once again, humor seemed to deflect some of the negativity, fear, and tiredness caused by the setback in this small space of freedom. A humoristic account called “eameo” published the already used funeral meme running among runners.
But, what is the price of life? Should the economy have a top consideration over health? President Fernández expressed at the begging of the lockdown that “life has no price” and kept encouraging citizens to stay at home, in all possible offline and online media, such as in this Tweet from his account: “It´s time to sleep, don´t go outside. Take care of yourself and others. I hug you all from the bottom of my heart, please stay home, see you tomorrow”.
The President’s message “stay home”.
Further on, he shared on Instagram a photograph that reads “We are the vaccine”, a post with over 279.000 likes.
As days keep passing by and the lockdown end keeps moving away from us, let´s hope Argentinians use our creativity to resurface once again. But first, let´s keep ourselves alive.