QCOSTARICA – Despite the thousands of daily infections and the possible collapse of health services, groups of Costa Ricans (Ticos) believe it convenient to meet friends and break social bubbles, as if there were no pandemic.
After living seven months with the new coronavirus, many have lowered their guard and enjoy a false sense of security when going out with acquaintances without a mask and without maintaining social distancing.
Epidemiological surveillance specialists warn that the lack of protection in family and friends gatherings can trigger positive cases in COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) – Costa Rican Social Security Fund – confirms the existence of people who claim to have a low feeling of risk of the disease with relatives, even though they are not part of their social bubble.
Sociologists explain that the commercial opening and the relaxation of vehicle restrictions have generated a feeling of trust in the population, which causes some to give up taking extreme care as before.
Epidemiologist Guiselle Guzmán Saborío, head of the Collective Health Area of the CCSS, agrees that people relax when there is talk of reopening and carry out activities with close people without preventive measures.
“People feel safe with the family nucleus with which they are most frequently in contact. But the danger is that each person in the frequent contact group has in turn contact with other frequent contact groups, work, social or family, “says the doctor.
It adds that people without symptoms or with symptoms such as a slight cough or a mild sore throat are the ones who commonly spread the disease between groups.
For this reason, she recommends that each individual at increased risk of complications keep a distance from family and friends, as a measure of self-care.
“People should become aware and say: if I am a person from the highest risk group, I must always be protected, therefore, I avoid close contact with other people and lovingly ask others to use their mask and wash their hands,” the epidemiologist added.
Sociologists Roberto Pineda and José Carlos Chinchilla explain that people no longer care so much about breaking their social bubbles and even posting it on their social networks.
Although this action involves defying health authorities and common sense, many do it without concern and post group photos on Facebook, Instagram and others, without feeling guilty.
“It seems to me that people no longer feel that pressure or that obligation to respect bubbles. If you do not want the curve to increase further, they will have to return restriction measures as before or more radical,” he says.
Faced with this situation, the CCSS began an awareness campaign on its social networks to present testimonies of patients who were infected outside their family nucleus.
Stories are told of citizens who underestimated the risk of contagion because they interacted people they knew who, apparently, “looked healthy.”
“We know that we always associate safety with loved ones, but the measures of community transmission force us to remain exclusive with the immediate circle and, even with them, keeping a distance is the way to express protection,” says the head of the audiovisual production of the CCSS, Doxy Navarro Padilla.
In one of the videos published by the CCSS, the story of a cyclist is presented who, on a recreational ride, has contact with a sick person and brings the virus home, where there are vulnerable people.
In another, the case the story of a group of friends who meet by chance, but the emotion of together making them forget distancing, which causes the contagion of all for one of them being infected.
From La Nacion, translated and with editing by the Q.