QCOSTARICA – The contagion rate of covid-19 in Costa Rica rose slightly in the last week according to the most recent analysis by the Universidad Hispanoamericana (UH), going from 0.83 to 0.9.
However, analysts consider that this increase is not necessarily bad news, since the contagion rate or R rate tells us about the speed of transmission of the virus in a place, not about the number of new cases.
This indicator tells us how many people, on average, each carrier of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes covid-19, would infect.
This week it is at .90 people, a week ago it was at 0.83. In other words, a week ago a group of 100 people with the virus would have infected 83, last week, but this week those 100 people would transmit the pathogen to 90.
Ideally, R should be less than 1, which is a sign that the rate of new cases is decreasing. This is the fifth week in a row that this value is below 1.
If the index is higher than 1, the evolution of the disease will have greater speed. With a rate of 1 the infection would remain constant.
“The increase in R does not necessarily indicate that the situation will get worse, since the rest of the indicators show an improvement. It only makes us see that, in some places, the possibility of contagion is strong and requires, therefore, to remain on alert, to detect any major recrudescence,” said Ronald Evans, coordinator of the UH analysis team.
And he exemplifies: “It is a vertical decline, without interruptions or deceptive plateaus. If we go back to the daily average of cases in the first week of January, which was 1,040 diagnosed with covid-19, the decrease was 66.8%, that is, the average number of cases fell by two-thirds, or, in other words, it is now only a third of what it was 35 days ago”.
In addition, other important data, such as the number of hospitalizations or deaths, continue at low levels.
For Wednesday, February 17, the latest numbers released by the Ministry of Health, there were 434 new cases and 7 deaths associated with covid-19. There were 326 people in hospitals due to the disease, of which 155 were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The contagion rate varies within the country. This week, Guanacaste is the province that shows the lowest indicator: 0.67. A week ago it was the province with the highest index, at 1.04. This is also the province with the greatest decline.
For its part, Cartago tops the highest index this week: 1.1. A week ago, it was the one with the lowest value, with 0.64. It is the province with the highest increase as well.
These particularities exemplify how volatile this rate is.
Elsewhere, Puntarenas has an R rate of 0.83, and San José and Alajuela, 0.88 each.
While Limón and Heredia have an R rate of 0.94.