(QCOSTARICA) Costa Rica closed the month of August with the fourth-highest COVID-19 reproduction rate in Latin America, surpassed only by Argentina, Guatemala, and Honduras.
On August 31, the country registered a figure of 1.19, which means that someone infected spreads the virus to more than one person. Today, September 2, the rate dropped slightly to 1.15 according to the Centro Centroamericano de Población (CCP), that corresponds to infections that occurred around Thursday, August 27, since on average, 6 days usually elapse between the moment of infection and the confirmatory laboratory report.
The CCP says the R rate of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, oscillated between 1.1 and 1.2 throughout the month of August.
If this trend continues, there is a risk that the health system is compromised.
The CCP outlook for the next 30 days
To illustrate the significance of the levels of the reproduction rate of the pandemic in Costa Rica, the CCP projected three scenarios”
- Scenario 1: neutral. If the country stagnates at the rate R = 1.15 in recent days, within a month we will be with reports of around 2,100 daily cases. This number is almost double the current average and could exceed the CCSS’s hospital care capacity, since 1,100 people would probably require hospitalization, 360 of them in ICU beds, that is, almost double that at present. It is also expected to reach a cumulative 960 deaths as of October 2.
- Scenario 2: optimistic. If, in the best of cases, the R rate decreases and reaches a value of R = 0.8 in 4 weeks, the outlook is of a moderate decrease in the number of new cases that would reach 900 per day on October 2, This figure is also problematic, both because of the pressure on hospital services and because it continues to exceed the country’s capacities to track and test contacts to contain the outbreak. A comfortable situation of optimal case traceability and containment of the outbreak will only be achieved if the number of new daily cases remains below 100 (as before June 20).
- Scenario 3: Pessimistic. If there is a disastrous tendency to increase the contagion rate to R = 1.5 (a situation that could occur as a result of the lifting of mobility restrictions), it would return to the catastrophic exponential increase in the curve of new infected and towards 2 In October 4,200 new cases would be reported (graph 2).
That is why citizens should increase caution.
“Slowly, the figures and rates increased daily. The average ranged between 800 and 900 for a few days, but we exceeded with ease a thousand cases. And the estimates made through various institutions, both national and international, tell us that the peak of the curve will be reached at the end of September or mid-October,” said Ronald Evans, epidemiologist and researcher at the School of Medicine of the Universidad Hispanoamericana.
Distancing, the use of facemasks (not face shields), and the increase in the amount of testing and tracking (a point at which the country remains in deficit), are the three vital actions that must be followed to contain the contagion rate, insists the CCP.
Three actions to reduce or contain the transmission rate: (1) distancing (2) masks and (3) tracking-testing
As for the distancing, Google reported an increase in the mobility of citizens in August, after the reopening and the “hammer” in July.
For example, as of August 20, an 11% increase in social interaction among Costa Ricans was reported, compared to July.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported 1,121 new cases, for a total of 43,305 confirmed cases, with an age range of zero to 100 years. There are 20,273 women and 23,032 men, of which 33,520 are Costa Rican and 9,785 are foreigners.
456 people are in hospital, 154 of them in intensive care, the highest figures to date, with an age range of 2 to 83 years, and 10 regrettable deaths: eight men, and two women, with an age range of 48 to 81 years, for a total of 453.
The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, working from home following while in self-isolation after coming into contact with an infected person, his father, who was hospitalized for a coronary problem and became infected intrahospital, emphasized today the care that must be taken when carrying out certain activities in closed spaces where people converge, taking into account that next Wednesday, September 9, an opening period begins.
In the region
On August 31, the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Latin America closed as follows (risk classification according to Dhafer Malouche, statistician at the University of Cartago in Tunisia):
- Argentina, 1.2
- Brazil, 1.13
- Bolivia, 1.03
- Chile, 0.99
- Costa Rica, 1.19
- Cuba, 1.08
- The Dominican Republic, 0.8
- El Salvador, 0.76
- Ecuador, 1.07
- Guatemala, 1.21
- Honduras, 1.22
- Mexico, 1.07
- Nicaragua, 0.98
- Panama, 0.92
- Paraguay, 1.14
- Peru, 0.98
- Uruguay, 0.89
- Venezuela, 1.08