(QCOSTARICA) The failure by the population to comply with sanitary measures prompted the increase in Covid-19 infections in Costa Rica during July, and if it continued, it could cause up to 5,000 cases to a day in late August.
This was the warning by the demographer Luis Rosero, who presented his projections this Tuesday, July 28, on the ‘Nuestra Voz’ podcast.
The university professor expressed his concern about what might happen due to the contempt that people have for the confinement measures.
“We are in a very very difficult situation,” said Rosero, explaining that to analyze the data, it must be taken into account that there is a delay “of about a week” between the moment of infection and the moment in which it is possible to confirm a case.
“If we reach the contagion levels in May (an R rate equal to 2) we will be in a catastrophic situation with more than 5,000 cases every day” by the end of August, Rosero said, adding that this would cause the imminent collapse of the health system.
The contagion rate represents the number of people that a patient will infect others. Currently, it is at 1.4, this means that 100 people with Covid-19 will infect 140 more.
In this scenario of 5,000 daily cases by lat August, it would represent a cumulative 60,000 infections and in turn, according to the mortality rate, we would have 300 to 500 deaths. The effect, he said, would be the scenario of overflowing hospitals and collapsed emergency rooms, which authorities have already warned about.
If the country regains control of the cases (virus tracking) and the rate of infection or reproduction is lowered, “we are going to stabilize at 1,300 cases per day, which still is a difficult situation,” says the expert.
However, continuing at today’s level (1.4), “in a month we will have four times more cases daily than we have now, about 3,000 cases a day.”
According to the demographer, authorities must analyze the measures taken, but – mainly – they must improve the way in which they get the message to the population in order to (again) attract people’s attention and achieve compliance with the measures.
Roseto said that with the mandatory mask use, and message of social distancing messages, the transmission rate was reduced for the month of June, however, “around July 15 the situation began to reverse”, which caused the contagion rate to increase.
For him, the above caused people to not respond positively to the “hammer” strategy, which tightened the containment measures in several cantons of the country.
“We do not know why it was that people got tired, reached a point of fatigue, rebelled against government measures (since mid-July) and the restriction of mobility has stopped working and rather has increased the amount of contact between people,” said Rosero, referring to Google’s mobility indexes, which showed this increase in people’s daily activity.
Analyzing this point, the expert assures that it can be concluded that the mandatory measures of keeping churches and restaurants (for example) closed have ceased to be effective. In addition, the “loss” of the virus trace also affects the figures, since not having the correct record of contacts, generates greater expansion – without control – of the disease.
“Unfortunately for Costa Rica, since May it had been losing control or reducing the number of traces and tests and last week, the Health Minister (Daniel Salas) admits that there is no control over this, that this important tool was lost to contain the epidemic,” the demographer concluded.