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Friday, October 7, 2022

Costa Rica suffers week of near-record Covid cases

Costa Rica tallied its second-highest total of new Covid-19 cases in a single week between August 29 and September 4, with a significant increase of hospitalizations and deaths, the Health Ministry reported.

In that weeklong period, Costa Rica added 16,601 cases (2,371 daily), ranking as the second epidemiological week with the most infections since the disease arrived in the Central American nation last March. The high points was registered in early May 2021, when Costa Rica summed 18,021 new infections.

“This panorama deserves to reinforce prevention measures in every sense (…). At some point there was a behavior that people could now free themselves from the measures, which is not the case,” lamented the Deputy Minister of Health, Pedro González.

“There is also the element of the delta variant, which is more contagious,” Gonzalez added. “Those elements have generated the situation we are experiencing now.”

With regard to deaths, the last four weeks also registered increases, reaching 136 total deaths between August 29 and September 4. Before there were 89, 105 and 127 deaths per week, respectively.

Also, from week to week, there was a 15% increase in new hospital admissions.

The situation will not improve anytime soon, according to estimates by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), the entity in charge of the country’s public health system.

The CCSS calculated two scenarios on Monday: the first, classified as optimistic, expects 3,000 cases a day as of September 30 and the second, the pessimistic one, anticipates 3,500.

“We know that 19 months (of pandemic) tire the population, but we cannot return to normality. (…) Our hospital system needs reprieve and at this moment it is not having it,” said the president of the CCSS, Román Macaya.

The high numbers come at a time when the government often highlights advances in vaccination. According to the percentages published by Casa Presidencial, currently 60% of the population has already received a first dose. About 25% have the complete immunization schedule with two doses.

Throughout the entire pandemic, Costa Rica, a country of just over 5 million inhabitants, has accumulated 478,144 cases and 5,642 deaths related to the virus.

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