Despite Holidays, COVID-19 Contagion Rate Maintains a Downward Trend in Costa Rica

For 3 weeks, the contagion rate in the country began to decrease. Despite the long weekend between September 12 and 14, the contagion rate of COVID-19 in Costa Rica maintains a downward trend, which began three weeks ago. This was indicated by the Central American Population Center (CCP) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in a periodically updated analysis.

According to this latest report, the contagion rate in Costa Rica is 1.05. “Since the last week of August a downward trend in the R rate has emerged, which, although slight, gives room for optimism that the reproduction of the epidemic outbreak is losing steam in Costa Rica,” the publication said.

The contagion rate is not the same as the number of cases, but rather shows the average number of people infected with SARS-Cov-2. At the current rate, a “generation” of 100 infected would generate a next “generation” of 105 people. The data show that contagion is losing steam. For that to be reflected in fewer cases, this downward trend would have to continue until it falls below 1. If the rate is less than 1, COVID-19 cases would begin to decline. For example, with a rate of 0.9, a group of 100 people would cause only 90 new infections.

“If the country continues to decline moderately until the contagion rate is below one, within a month we will be reporting around 1,000 cases a day,” says the UCR report. This projection, however, is not entirely encouraging, since “it would maintain a problematic pressure on the hospital services of the CCSS,” according to the publication. “The forecast in this neutral scenario is that within a month, on October 16, the accumulated deaths will be greater than 1,200, while the number of hospitalized people would rise to 900 and the demand for ICU beds to 370”, he points out.

To curb the contagion rate, the CCP has indicated that the epidemiological trace of the virus – lost since July by the Ministry of Health – must be recovered, the use of masks must be generalized and the distance between people must be maintained.

The peak of cases has not been reached

Despite the contagion losing steam, the cases continue to increase. According to the UCR analysis, Costa Rica and Argentina are the only countries in Latin America that have not reached their peak of cases.

Even so, the drop in the contagion rate seems to indicate that this peak is approaching, according to the CCP. “It seems that Costa Rica is very close to reaching the desired level of 1, that is, the peak of the pandemic.” Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Peru all had their peak of cases between 200 and 250 cases per million inhabitants. This is a level similar to what Costa Rica is currently at.

“The Pandemic curve of Costa Rica is close to reaching 250 daily cases per million inhabitants and it would be exceptional for the Latin American context if Costa Rica exceeds this number without reaching the peak,” says the report.

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