With some 30 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed on Thursday and I am expecting a similar number to be announced today at the noon covid-19 briefing, that could see the number of positive cases reach 300 by the Sunday, if not sooner, will the government of Carlos Alvarado order a lockdown, similar to measures taken in Colombia, Panama and El Salvador?
I proffer, most likely.
Does Carlos Alvarado have any other choice? Ticos aren’t heeding to his and the call of the minister of health, Daniel Salas, to stay home, work from home if you can, don’t drive at night, has closed bars, clubs, casinos, beaches, parks, churches and so on.
Yet… people are not listening.
I don’t take stock of the warning by both Salas and the Minister of Planning, María del Pilar Garrido, that between 20% and 50% of the population could get infected. They are trying to bring a point home.
Yet… people are not paying attention.
As of yesterday, in Costa Rica we have 231 confirmed cases, five of which are serious, in intensive care, the majority at home, hopefully, isolated from friends and family. The cases are spread out to now more than half of the cantons or counties if you will, the majority concentrated in the Central Valley.
This morning, Friday, the Ministry of Health opened the CENARE, a rehabilitation center converted into an 88 bed hospital exclusively for coronavirus patients. The country is getting ready.
Yet… there seems no urgency by many, if not most.
Yesterday’s increase was the single most on any day since the first case detected in Costa Rica on March 6. The number today, I fear will be much higher, each coming day setting records.
Fortunately, although one too many, we have had only two deaths, tow 87-year-olds.
Which brings me to another point, while the major focus is on protecting the elderly, the young are the ones getting sick. The age range yesterday was from 2 to 87, an average age of 41.
The age of the patients in the intensive care range from 36 to 72, three of which are under 50.
Yet… the young in particular are going about things as if normal.
I mentioned earlier Panama and Colombia are on lockdown. How is it going for them?
Panama, a country with a population of 4.16 million (2019) has 674 confirmed cases and reports 9 deaths; Colombia, population 50.3 million (2019), reports confirmed 491 cases and 6 deaths. We, in Costa Rica, have 231 cases and 2 deaths for a population of 5 million (2019).
Doing simple math, we are still doing pretty good, but…
This is our last chance to avoid a lockdown, more loss of life and the ‘pura vida’ way of living. Yes, this will pass, and things will be back to normal. But what will be the new normal?
Stay home for the next 2-3 weeks, whether the government goes to lock down or not. Adopt a self-isolation or quarantine, whichever word works best for you, going out only to the supermarket (one person, not your entire entourage) or the doctor, clinic, hospital.
Work online if you can, if you have to go to work, be careful, think of you loved ones back home. And when you do get home, remove your clothing, shower, disinfect before hugging your kids, your parents, your wife.
The coronavirus is not spread through the air. The virus’s main route of transmission is from one person to another, through droplets that are sneezed or coughed out by infected people. This is known as “droplet spread”.
While it is in these droplets, the coronavirus is only in the air for a short time and travels only a short distance before it is pulled down by gravity after being coughed or sneezed out.
A single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets, while a sneeze can produce as many as 10,000. These droplets then land in or are breathed into another person’s airways, or fall on a surface that is touched by an uninfected person, who then touches their face – specifically their mouth, nose, ears or eyes.
Me, I am on day 6 of self-isolation.
In truth, my self-isolation has been, so far, pretty easy in that my normal day before the coronavirus I would spend a lot of time at home, sometimes not going out for 3 or 4 days, and then to the supermarket, bank, sometimes, to change it up, a trip to Multiplaza.
All my friends are also in self-isolation, we touch base with each other daily, before the virus we would meet up once a week or 10 days.
Do not become part of the statistics. Do not let me think that you, yes you, are one of the numbers I update daily here. Stay home.
The damn beach will be there in 3 weeks; YOU might not.
Edit: A post on Facebook from Bob, a friend who for years lived in Costa Rica and now calls La Estrella, south of Medellin home, on the lockdown in Colombia:
Day 7 or 8 of lockdown… I have only been out of the house once during this time for about an hour. I believe this is the cause of me starting to lose track of time, day of week even how many days we have been on lockdown. Lockdown ends on April 13th, at first I thought it would be easy now I am starting to doubt that. My next scheduled outing is 6 days away when I get to go out again and buy groceries.