(QCOSTARICA) More than half of those that become infected with COVID-19 are people who work the fields, construction, domestic workers (maids), gardeners, handymen, guards, and informal vendors.
They typically between 20 and 49 years age, the age group with the most reported positive cases in the country, and the population that also infects others more because they are more mobile due to their socio-economic characteristics.
Among these groups, those who are most infected with the new coronavirus are between 20 and 29 years old; followed by those in their thirties.
This according to the Expediente Digital Único en Salud (EDUS) – Unique Digital Health Record – of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), based on the occupational profiles noted in medical records of those who require medical attention.
“The data is kept by the Health Statistics Area of the CCSS,” explained Guiselle Guzmán Saborío, head of Collective Health.
“A little more than 40% (of the patients) appear in our EDUS as inactive (informal vendors), followed by 11.6%, by those engaged in domestic work, handyman, guards, and agricultural or construction workers.
“They are people with the lowest socioeconomic level, associated with a more occupational profile of services and laborers. They are also present an increase in symptoms of chronic diseases, which is related to a higher level of clinical severity of COVID-19,″ explained Guzmán.
The latter is probably due to barriers in access to health services, such as the lack of some type of medical insurance.
“The most vulnerable population, the poorest, with less work, the one with the most social deprivation is the one with the most decompensated diseases,” the specialist reaffirmed.
The other occupational categories in which the sick are classified include guards, day laborers and artisans (around 6%), basic service workers, such as cooks, policemen, shopkeepers, demonstrators, shop assistants or supermarkets clerks (4.6%), and administrative personnel, such as secretaries and administrators (5% of all patients).
Following are technicians and professionals (5%), and the rest are divided into smaller groups, where there are professional and scientific categories, Guzmán explained.
“Approximately 60% of the patients are working informally or belong to low-income groups with a lower social index. That is part of the inequality.
“An English study in May (Cochrane Iberoamericana), with data from 17 million British patients, found that, among the main factors of death due to COVID, are those that are related to the index of social deprivation, and this it doubles the risk of mortality,” explained Guzmán.
According to the CCSS specialist, this also confirms what is being seen in the Costa Rican profile: people who are requiring hospitalization and register higher mortality, have decompensated chronic diseases and are part of the groups affected by great social inequity.
The second pandemic wave of COVID-19 in the country has been crueler to the most socially and economically vulnerable population, according to experts.
At the beginning of the national emergency, the main victims were foreign or Costa Rican tourists who came for pleasure or work trips abroad, belonging to high-income sectors.
In May, agricultural laborers, Central American transporters, and low-income workers living in rooming houses and precarious conditions in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) have become the victims of this respiratory disease.
Having described an occupational profile, and the location by age and origin, of these patients, has allowed the CCSS to set up a community approach strategy.
“We have been working closely with the Ministry of Health to focus on the communities. The screenings are made with epidemiological criteria based on a vulnerability index.
“Within the indicators of this index is the demographic part; for example, when there is more overcrowding or older adults in a community, and also due to a social risk condition. The CCSS family file has a risk index. This includes access to drinking water, that minors are in the educational system, and even the number of rooms that the house has,” Guzmán explained.