The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Etienne, stated on Tuesday that the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Costa Rica would not be reached until October.
During PAHO’s weekly press conference, Etienne reported projections on the evolution of the health crisis issued by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington, which indicates that most countries in the Americas will see the peak of infections in the following months and that by October 1st the region will have more than 600,000 deaths from COVID-19.
The Americas region is the epicenter of the Pandemic. IHME projections for the region estimate that by October 1st, 2020, there will be more than 627,000 deaths, almost three times what we have today. In Latin America and the Caribbean is projected to have more than 438 thousand deaths.
Etienne cautioned that projections have important limitations and should not be taken as a literal reading of the future, but rather as a guide for making decisions that do not allow you to reach those projections. According to the director of PAHO, projections are made on the basis that the current situation regarding prevention or mitigation measures continue as they already are.
In this manner, countries like Chile and Colombia will see their peak of cases between now and mid-July. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru would see it sometime in August. In Central America, countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama are projected to see their peak of cases in August, while in Costa Rica the peak of cases will be seen in October. Etienne reiterated that these projections will be fulfilled only if the current circumstances are maintained.
The IHME model projects that by October 1st, Costa Rica will have 39 deaths from COVID-19, a figure that could be reduced to 23 deaths by the same date if the use of masks becomes mandatory throughout the country.
The IHME also projects that the expected peak of cases for October 1st would cause the country to register about 400 daily COVID-19 infections, a figure that could be reduced to 41 daily cases if the use of masks becomes mandatory.
“Countries can change these projections if they make the right decisions and establish strict public health measures. In the following months, we will continue to see cases and deaths from COVID-19. Governments must take action while simultaneously taking into account health care and economic factors”, said the PAHO director.