Friday 27 January 2023

Covid-19 contagion rate drops, but hospitals still under pressure

The contagion rate dropped to 1.03 in the past week; could be a sign that the peak of this wave has been reached.

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27 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The contagion rate of covid-19 once again presented a slight reduction, but it remains at high levels and pressure persists in hospitals due to the large number of infected.

Masks, Covid-19, delta variable analysts indicate that as the mobility of people is higher at the moment, this may give more space for the delta variant to transmit. Photo: Rafael Pacheco

The most recent report from the Universidad Hispanoamericana (UH), A Pandemic in Perspective, indicates that the contagion rate stands at 1.03, slightly lower than the 1.05 of the previous report.

The contagion rate, also called the R rate, is an indicator of the speed with which the virus is transmitted.

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When it is greater than 1, it implies that each group of carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes covid-19, would transmit it to a larger group.

A rate of 1.03, as reported this Thursday, indicates that 100 individuals with the virus would infect 103.

These numbers remain high and imply that the pandemic continues strongly, although according to the authors, the trend is downward.

For the doctor and epidemiologist Ronald Evans, coordinator of the report, this is good news and could be a sign that the peak of this wave has been reached.

“This decrease in the force of contagion is very encouraging, since if this trend continues during this week and the following, it could be the beginning of the decrease in the number of cases. We raised the possibility of having already reached the peak of the curve,” he said.

However, given the dynamics of the virus, this is not yet reflected in hospitals, which are going through a critical situation. Given the evolution of patients, they enter a health center several days after infection, so this curve will drop late.

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“In the case of hospitalizations, we would begin to see the decrease between two and four weeks later. The same would happen with the number of deaths,” said the expert.

One of Evans’ concerns is that this could be reversed, either by less vaccination or by the relaxation of protective measures on the part of the people.

For Evans, if there are oversights, it is possible to reach the scenario to which the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) referred this Tuesday, when it warned that the worst moment of the pandemic has not yet arrived.

According to estimates by the Caja, in the coming weeks, there would be 3,100 cases a day and 580 people in intensive care.

By provinces

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The contagion is not the same throughout the country and each province has its own rhythm.

The lowest level is presented by Alajuela, with 0.98, followed by San José, with 1.02 and Heredia with 1.03. Guanacaste and Limón have 1.04.

The highest R is for Puntarenas and Cartago, with 1.12.

Cases do increase

The contagion rate indicates the speed of transmission and not necessarily the number of patients that present in a week.

In this case, despite the low R, being at levels above 1 this still implies an increase in infected.

In this last week, the number of people confirmed with covid-19 grew 6.3%, less than the 8.5% seen the week before.

The daily average number of cases went from 2,488 to 2,341.

If viewed by rates per million inhabitants, the change was from 453.4 to 481.9.

Minors, the most affected

The analysis also explored the age groups that are getting the most ill and found that the increase is greatest in those under 18 years of age.

In minors, the increase was 53.7%. In this group, the percentage of people vaccinated with two doses is only 8.6%.

For the 18 to 57 age group, the increase was 33.2%. The percentage of complete vaccination between 20 and 39 years is 22.7% and in those between 40 and 57 years is 48.7%.

And finally, in the case of people aged 58 and over, the observed increase was 23.5%. In this group, those vaccinated with the complete scheme exceed 90%.

“The protective effect of vaccines is evident,” concludes the report.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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