QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica is on the verge its seventh consecutive week with a decrease in new cases of covid-19.
Between Saturday (February 20) and Monday (February 21), 996 new cases were reported: 549 on Saturday, 239 on Sunday and 208 on Monday, figures that have not been seen since June 2020, with the exception of February 15, the day on which only 182 new cases were reported.
Daniel Salas, the Minister of Health, explained the factors that could be influencing the decrease in cases in the country:
- Compliance with protocols: Salas explained that based on field visits made by the National Emergency Commission (CNE), compliance with protocols is demonstrated in most businesses and the population.
Previously, the CNE reported that between 60% and 65% of people comply with social distancing compared to 74% who use a mask.
- Exposure to the virus: The second factor has to do with the fact that there are fewer susceptible people exposed to the virus because “many people” have already had contact with virus although they did not find out because they are asymptomatic.
“Possibly more than 30% (1.5 million) of people who are no longer susceptible because they coould have already had contact with viruses”, declared the Minister.
- Dry season: Costa Rica is in the dry season, which is hotter, which causes people to opt for more ventilated places and outdoors, where there is less exposure to the virus from being in open places.
- Vitamin D: Finally, Salas explained that due to the dry season, the population is exposed more to the sun and thus activates vitamin D.
The vitamin, in turn, protects the respiratory tract, one of the most affected when the virus enter the body
Minister Salas estimates that it will be until October when we have herd immunity, which would reduce the strength of the disease. This, as long as the normal flow of deliveries of vaccines that has been established is maintained.
“I estimate that, at the rate we are going and with the vaccines we have, it could be before October when we achieve herd immunity but this can never be set in stone. It will depend on many variables,” he emphasized.
Costa Rica received the first vaccines on December 23 from Pfizer/BioNtech that launched the country’s vaccination program the following the day.
Since, there have been five additional deliveries from Pfizer with a break in between, company having temporary suspended due to high global demand. The last batch,79,560 doses arrived on Tuesday, Febuary 16.
In total, the country has received 183,885 doses of the more than six million it expects to receive in the coming months, some 3 million from Pfizer, the rest from AstraZeneca (possibly in May) and the COVAX mechanism, led by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
A new batch is expected today, Tuesday or possibly tomorrow, Wednesday, if the Pfizer company sticks to its past schedule.
This Monday, February 22, Costa Rica recorded an accunulated total of 202,674 cases of covid-19, of which 172,280 people or 85% have already recovered.
In addition to the drop in new cases, hospitalization have dropped, as of Monday, there were 268 covid patients, of which 140 require attention in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The age range of the patients is from 15 to 92 years.
Costa Rica has accumulated 2,782 deaths associated to covid-19, a fatality rate of 1.4%.
If the coming days continues the trend, on Friday Costa Rica will have completed the seventh consecutive week with a decrease in covid-19 cases.