Published Monday, July 6, 2020

Non-compliance with sanitary
measures triggers covid-19 cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, announced the projections of covid-19 cases carried out by the Research Center of Pure Applied Mathematics (CIMPA) of the University of Costa Rica.

The specialists of the Research Center analyzed two scenarios: one without compliance with preventive measures, that is, assuming that the population does not change its behavior and another with compliance with preventive sanitary measures.

In the first scenario, a pronounced and continuous increase in cases of patients infected with covid-19 could happen. In this case, it is estimated that as of September 30, more than 500 cases would be detected daily and a total figure of nearly 33,800 cases.

If that happens, in September the hospitalization could reach more than 330 patients in the recovery salon and 180 patients in intensive care units.

On the other hand, in the second scenario, when the population does apply precautionary measures, it is estimated that the number of cases becomes more contained. In this scenario, approximately 200 daily cases are expected for July 7, August 12 and September 20.

There could be a total of 16,160 cases of patients infected with the virus.

Furthermore, hospitalizations would not exceed 126 cases in the recovery rooms and 88 in the Intensive Care Units.

"Today is when taking personal actions to lower the curve is urgent," Salas said. "These projections make the individual responsibility even more obvious, the projected cases could double if as a population we do not act responsibly. Every response, every action, no matter how minimal it can be, will impact us as a country.”

According to the ministry, the projections were made including the data update to June 23, 2020.

In the Greater Metropolitan Area or GAM, researchers assume that a person can have between 5 and 30 contacts per day, and in the rest of the country between 5 and 20 per day. The size of each network varies daily between these values randomly.

GAM includes city peripherals of San José such as Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.

This study was done with specialists from the Research Center, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Social Security and the Ministry of Health.

The importance of this study lies in the fact that the country has a forecast model that provides articulated and analyzed information for the institutions for decision-making based on scientific evidence, said María Dolores Pérez-Rosales, representative of the PAHO.

Although the projections should not be considered absolute truths, it displays possible scenarios, which are constantly updated according to the evolution of the pandemic in the country and the national epidemiological situation, which becomes a key input for planning actions to be taken, said the ministry in its statement.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) people can reduce their chances of being infected or spreading covid-19 by taking some simple precautions:

• Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills viruses that may be on your hands.

• Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the covid-19 virus if the person has the disease.

• Avoid going to crowded places. When people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has covid-19. Plus, crowded places make it more difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).

• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.

• Make sure to follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Immediately dispose of the used tissue and wash your hands. Droplets spread viruses. And following good respiratory hygiene, protects oneself and the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and covid-19.

• Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible covid-19 and other viruses.

• If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

• Keep informed on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities. Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

• Safe use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

• Remember that washing your hands with soap and water is also effective against covid-19.

What have you heard about people not following sanitary measures during the pandemic? Send your homemade recipes with a photo of the dish to