(QCOSTARICA) If in Costa Rica the measures of social distancing, hygiene, and respect for social bubbles are not followed, the projection is 35,000 infections by the end of September. On the contrary, if we heed to the recommendations, the projection is less than half, about 16,000 cases.
These are part of the projections released this Friday by the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, the result of the work of the Center for Research in Pure Mathematics at the School of Mathematics of the University of Costa Rica (UCR).
They were made with the updated link base, as of June 23.
As for active cases, if there is good behavior, it could reach 4,000 by the beginning of October. But it would be triple, 12,000, if the bubbles and all the other prevention rules are broken.
“See the big difference of having that respite for the health services system and the difference of having 12,000 active cases, all transmitting. This represents not only the collapse of health services, where capacity is diminished but also that there is a loss of capacity to follow-up on the issuance of health orders and the confinement of cases.
“Costa Rica is the one who chooses where we are going,” sentenced the minister.
Obviously, the difference is also abysmal in terms of bed occupancy and intensive care.
If people do not follow the measures, we could see 500 cases a day by September 30, with around 480 hospitalizations, of which 180 would require the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“You already know what our capacity is, obviously at 180, we would be quite above capacity,” he said.
In a scenario in which people comply with distancing, hygiene and social bubbles, hospitalizations would not exceed 214, 88 of them in the ICU.
The information was provided following the Minister’s report for Friday, July 3, of 288 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, for a cumulative figure of 4,311 since March 6
The number of hospitalized, meanwhile, increases again to reach 73, ten of whom are in the ICU, both records setting.
Minister Salas added that the country will have to manage, if it can, with what it has, explaining that hospital beds can be created, possibly, to meet demands, but it would be in the hands of the same staff.
“There is still solvency within the system without having to do those stretching miracles that we are not sure about. Let us remember that they are the same professionals,” Salas said.
He insisted that it is not a question of waiting to enact measures, but right now it is necessary to take the actions to lower the curve and avoid a “fatal scenario”.
By the numbers
To carry out the projections, Minister Salas said that several assumptions were made, including that a person in the metropolitan area of the country may have daily contact between five and 30 people, while in the provinces, between five and 20.
In addition, some 20 model simulations were made, each of these projections varies in its number of runs in the simulation model.
“The more runs the more robust the model. Several assumptions were used, they are based on the country data that we have seen, which have been documented as we have advanced, with respect to more general data such as the transmission rate or the incubation period,” he said.
However, he clarified that “this is not a trip to the future”, but rather, projections that help make decisions.
When asked about whether or not economic opening was inconvenient given the increase in cases, Minister Salas rejected that it had been a forced process.
He assured that it was the product of analysis and studied decisions, in addition to that it was gradual in the midst of the pandemic.
“If we had opened everything at the same time, I would say that was wrong, but we did it gradually, we did it by presenting the risk scenarios.
“The openings have to happen because if the country does not it will collapse, if we maintain a closure for several months, there is no way for the country to recover,” he claimed.
Salas was emphatic that economic openness should not be confused with social openness.
He insisted that although the majority of the people are responsible, a smaller group that has not been, and that group affects everyone.
At this time, however, phase three of that economic and activity revival plan was put on hold in 27 cantons of the country, which are under orange alert.
Thus, there will be no opening of cinemas, theaters, shops, and restaurants on weekends. Nor can religious activities be carried out