QCOSTARICA – In recent weeks, Costa Rica has experienced an increase in covid-19 cases, which for specialists is a new pandemic wave, characterized by an accelerated rate of infections and more hospitalizations of minors.
How long will this pandemic wave last? How many cases can we be expecting for the next few months? The Central American Population Center of the University of Costa Rica (CCP-UCR) drew up two scenarios, according to the dynamics of the virus and how it could affect us.
In the optimistic scenario, the peak of the wave would arrive in a week, in the pessimistic scenario it would do so until the end of September.
Both are based on the fact that at this time the contagion rate is at 1.13 and that, being higher than 1, the cases continue to increase.
1.13 means that in a group of 100 carriers of the virus, they would transmit the infection to 113.
“The increase in this rate since mid-July and especially its values indicate that the country is in a new pandemic wave. The magnitude of this new wave will depend on how long the rate remains above the threshold of 1,″ says the report.
How are these projections drawn?
The analysis starts from the fact that there are three forces that mainly define the transmission of the virus: one positive and two negative.
The positive is the vaccination and the rate it has taken in recent days, which is faster than in previous months.
The first negative impact is the delta variant, much more transmissible than the other variants of the virus; the second is that the measures are relaxed, either because authorities make them more lax or because people neglect them.
The advantage is that this single positive force can generate more impact than the two negative ones: “Vaccination is a key factor that can more than neutralize the two negative forces,” the document cites.
To build the optimistic scenario, the analysis is based on the following assumptions:
- Fast vaccination rate of 250,000 weekly doses.
- Acquired immunity.
- Delta variant.
- The population’s behavior towards contagion and sanitary restrictions do not vary.
In the pessimistic scenario, one or more of these assumptions are not met.
One of the greatest risks, precisely, is related to point 4. The speed of vaccination can also lead to those who have an incomplete vaccination lifting their personal measurements ahead of time.
“It is possible that an unforeseen adverse side effect of this mass vaccination of young adults occurred if many of the newly vaccinated people felt falsely protected and abandoned anti-contagion protocols and behaviors,” warns the analysis.
The report indicates that this is a phenomenon observed in other countries such as Uruguay, “where a paradoxical increase in infections went hand in hand with the rapid advance of vaccination for a short period of time.”
The projections for the pessimistic scenario indicate that the contagion rate would remain at similar levels and would fall more slowly to its threshold of 1 near the end of September.
The country would then reach the peak of the new pandemic wave in about a month and a half, with about 3,000 new cases a day.
Regarding hospitalizations, some 1,200 people will require to be hospitalized within a month, of which 500 will require intensive care.
In this scenario, there would be approximately 11 daily deaths.