Neither influenza AH1N1 is comparable to SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory virus responsible for covid-19, nor the way the conditions were managed in the pandemic that hit the world in 2009 can be compared to those that surprised the planet 11 years later.
The former Health Minister, Dr. María Luisa Avila Agüero, who was at the forefront during the 2009 AH1N1 flu pandemic, said that the influenza virus and the new coronavirus are not comparable.
She affirmed it when learning about Monday’s demonstrations by the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Covid-19 was described by Adhanom as a rapidly spreading disease ten times more deadly than the virus responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic, AH1N1.
“The influenza virus has been known for a long time, and for the 2009 pandemic, there was a whole pre-pandemic plan several years earlier. We were prepared to receive it. This new coronavirus is attacking very fast, and most of the world’s health systems, including the WHO itself, got caught completely off guard,” explained Avila.
“That is why it has caused more deaths. In addition, it is a virus that is not known as much as influenza,” said the pediatrician and infectious disease specialist.
Costa Rica has advanced 618 cases since March 6, when the first contagion of COVID-19 was confirmed within the national territory.vila, who served as Minister of Health in the second administration of Óscar Arias Sánchez (2006-2010), and part of that of Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014), also considers that there are other factors that have affected the course of the covid-19 pandemic.
In 2009, Salud ordered to extend the half-year school vacation period from two to three weeks and also suspended the pilgrimage to Cartago, as measures to cut the transmission chains of what was called the swine flu.
H1N1 caused at least 56 deaths in Costa Rica in 2009 and 1,867 infections. Even at the end of 2016, it caused another 17 deaths.
Costa Rica has advanced 618 cases since March 6, when the first contagion of COVID-19 was confirmed within the national territory.vila mentioned that this covid-19 pandemic is been lived “in real time”, with a lot of information available, and the social networks, a factor that was not so prevalent more than a decade ago.
In Costa Rica, the first confirmed case of the covid-19 was on March 6. Since then, the Ministry of Health has counted 618 infected people and three deaths.
“Health authorities, including the WHO, have had several fronts open to them. One, which I would call the ‘opinionologists’, with people giving their opinion above all with their own data, many of them generating confusion. I believe that in this case, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health has handled the pressure received from this front very well. The other is the fake news”, explained Avila.
Costa Rica has advanced 618 cases since March 6, when the first contagion of COVID-19 was confirmed within the national territory.vila also considers that the WHO authorities are under great pressure from economic groups at this time, especially in the United States, where President Donald Trump has withdrawn funding from this organization due to what the president considers “Mismanagement of the pandemic” and a “biased attitude towards China”.
“I do believe that the WHO and PAHO (Pan American Health Organization, arm in the Americas of the WHO) are very necessary entities, but after this they will have to rethink, because they have become more political than technical organizations”, commented the former minister.
Covid-19 will undoubtedly have a substantial economic effect.
“Leonardo Garnier (former Minister of Planning and Education, among other public offices, as well as an economist with a specialty in Political Economy and Economic Development), wrote an article where he talks about health as a priority. Plans to recover the economy will come later.
“Therefore, mitigation measures cannot be lifted in Costa Rica quickly. This will depend on how the pandemic peak behaves, which we have not yet reached,” Avila warned, referring to Adhanom’s request to the countries for a” lifting of slow confinement. ”