January 2021 showed a drop in the statistics of both infections and the demand for intensive care beds for COVID-19 cases. Even the reproduction rate – known as R0 – is at its lowest point since the previous April, when the Pandemic began to knock on the doors in the country.
“At this moment we are doing the corresponding epidemiological studies because what we had projected were different data.” That was the statement of the vice minister of health, Alejandra Acuña, when she was consulted about the behavior of the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus, in recent days.
Experts test hypotheses to explain new scenario
What prevented the outbreak of cases and avoided the gloomy outlook for the authorities? Although the complete analysis will take time, the experts who have the pulse of the Pandemic highlight a clear social component in the break of the projection.
“The population of Costa Rica has adopted behavioral changes better than those of other countries to reduce infections,” said demographer Luis Rosero Bixbi. Along these lines, the use of a mask and avoiding meetings in closed spaces became essential. There is also an immunity effect after intense phases of contagion, especially in densely populated communities.
“The very dynamics of the Pandemic that has reduced the reservoir of people susceptible to infection because many have been immunized having already suffered the disease,” said Rosero.
Although this does not yet amount to herd immunity, the networks that were most susceptible to infection have already had such exposure, which slows down the spread of infections.
Thus, there are communities where it is likely that 50% of adults have become ill and developed immunity, highlighting:
Downtown San José: Cathedral, Hospital, Carmen, Merced, La Uruca and Pavas.
Tibás: Cinco esquinas.
The analyst stressed that in any case the improvement is tentative and acts such as more massive events or the relaxation of prevention measures could ruin it.
COVID-19 statistics keep falling
After some daily reports of about 1,400 daily cases of COVID-19, a month ago, the constant in the last three weeks has been not to exceed the threshold of 1,000 new infections. In addition, the report must differentiate between cases detected by the laboratory and those declared by epidemiological link. To measure the fall in cases, for example, the previous week closed with 1,142 cases less than the previous 7 days.
The sustained drop in new cases is already beginning to be reflected in hospital occupancy. Only in the case of ICU, the demand went down from 247 to 180 beds in 15 days. Furthermore, the contagion rate, known as R0, is at its lowest levels since April. According to measurements from the UCR and the Hispano-American University, the data is around 0.82, that is, every 100 patients produce 80 new ones.