(QCOSTARICA) Epidemiologist Guiselle Guzmán warned that it is necessary to pass all four phases of a pandemic for COVID-19 to become a seasonal coronavirus and that there is no going back when community contagion is reached.
“There is no going back … There is a community transmission and there is no going back,” Guzmán said this morning during CRHoy.com’s Enfoques program.
The expert indicated that even though community transmission started, it may happen that it does not spread throughout the country.
“For example, it happens in Costa Rica, where there are three cantons that have no cases. And it may happen that in the same country, in different places, it may be in different phases,” she added.
In addition, the epidemiologist assured that despite community transmission, the follow-up of the contacts will continue.
“In this way, these links can be identified and traced to see where the virus is moving and to identify the vulnerable population in the country,” she concluded.
You can see the full interview (in Spanish) here.
What is community transmission?
Community transmission is when there is no clear source of origin of the infection in a new community. It happens when you can no longer identify who became infected after being exposed to someone who interacted with people from the originally infected communities.
The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, last week acknowledged that there is community transmission in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), in particular in areas like Pavas, the large number of cases exceeding the ability of Health officials to follow-up contacts and dictate health orders for those people suspected of having the virus.
“This declaration arises because the number of cases has been increasing in a very important way in recent days and that leads to a material impossibility of following them up (…) the acceleration of cases exceeds the ability to carry out investigations in a timely manner,” said Salas.
Who is at risk?
COVID-19 can affect people of all ages. Recent data shows that older people are, the higher their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Age is an independent risk factor for severe illness, but the risk in older adults is also in part related to the increased likelihood that older adults also have underlying medical conditions.
At more risk are the obese, people with chronic diseases such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, being treated for cancer, neurologic conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease such as stroke, or who are pregnant.
Other risk factors include race/ethnicity, use of certain medications, poverty and crowding, and certain occupations.