QCOSTARICA – Lifting the covid-19 sanitary restrictions is to everyone’s benefit after almost 18 months since they were enacted. But how do we get there? The answer is in vaccinations.
An analysis by the Central American Population Center of the University of Costa Rica (CCP-UCR), indicated that applying 275,000 weekly doses to counteract the momentum of the delta variant – although not to stop it – and lower the transmission speed would reduce greatly the contagion rate, which is currently at 1.1.
A similar analysis, carried out by the Universidad Hispanoamericana (UH), indicates that this indicator stands at 1.03.
According to the CCP-UCR, f this happens, the virus contagion rate could go to 0.6, that is 100 carriers of the virus would infect 60 and with it, the situation of the disease can be attended more easily.
The Central American Population Center report indicates that the dynamics of the virus is governed mainly by three forces: one positive and two negatives.
The positive is vaccination and the negative are the delta variant – up to twice as transmissible as the “traditional” variants of the virus – and the relaxation of measures, either because restrictions are lifted or because people are careless.
Immunization rate is key, but essential doses
For vaccination to be able to fight against these two negative forces, it is vital that it has good speed.
Between July 26 and August 2, data from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) indicate that 230,383 vaccines were applied. The week before that, as a result of the donation of 500,000 doses from the United States government, 381,100 were applied. The week before that, it was 206,004.
The Caja provides a weekly report of immunizations every Tuesday.
In Costa Rica, the speed of immunization depends directly on the number of doses available.
The weeks with the most inoculations were when the donation was received. However, subsequently, the arrival of vaccines has been increasing, though not at the speed liked or to reach the CCP-UCR indicator.
“The country has already reached 50% of the population immunized with at least one dose and by the end of August 70% will be exceeded, a threshold that in other countries has been shown to produce a quasi-collective immunity that allows the lifting of some sanitary restrictions,” cites the report.
The CCP-UCR estimates that the delta variant will spread in Costa Rica until reaching 75% of new cases in mid-October (as projected by the CCSS). It is also assumed that this new variant doubles the probability of contagion.
The relaxation of measures, according to the report, would also become more evident after this vaccination campaign.
“It is possible, however, that an unforeseen adverse side effect of this mass vaccination of young adults has occurred if many of the newly vaccinated people felt falsely protected and abandoned anti-contagion protocols and behaviors,” the document warns.
“This is a phenomenon observed in other countries such as Uruguay, where a paradoxical increase in infections has gone hand in hand with the rapid advance of vaccination,” the report adds.
The possible scenarios
The analysis outlines two possible scenarios, one in which we receive sufficient doses and giving the CCSS the capacity to vaccinate 275,000 people per week, and another in which this is not possible and, in addition, the other two “negative forces” lash out.
Optimistic scenario. The contagion rate falls to 0.6 in two months. A reduction in infections is expected to reach 250 reported daily cases. There would be less than 200 hospitalized, half of them in intensive care, and win an average of two deaths a day.
Pessimistic scenario. Contagion rate at 1.1. There would be 1,800 daily cases at the end of September. The same number of hospitalized would be seen, with 800 in intensive care. There would be about 17 deaths a day.
Specialists ask the population to maintain their protection measures such as being vaccinated with the complete scheme, use of masks in closed places (and in open places where distancing cannot be kept), good hand hygiene and avoiding closed places and little ventilated.