Covid-19 in Yucatan: ”The pandemic is not over yet”, expert warns about summer vacations

(Photo: El Diario de Yucatán)

The gradual rebound in Covid-19 infections in Yucatan is a consequence of the recent vacations and the 100% return to face-to-face classes, considered Dr. Manuel Baeza Bacab, a specialist in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Merida’s Medical Center of the Americas.

Given the growing increase in cases of Covid-19 in the world, a Yucatecan doctor was asked if there is a risk of an accelerated rise in Yucatan because last Thursday, May 19th, there were 67 cases against 12 on Monday, May 2nd.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is not over,” he emphasized. “Apparently, the pause it offered us could be coming to an end, as in other countries like China and the United States, it continues to wreak havoc on health systems and the economy,” he noted.

The specialist recalled that in Yucatan there are 110,604 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 6,931 deaths, until last Thursday, May 19t. In an analysis of the figures and behavior of the pandemic in Yucatan, from March 1 to May 19, he observed that in the first part of this period (March 1 to April 10) it was apparently the end of the wave caused by Omicron. However, he observed a gradual and progressive increase in the number of cases as of April 11, going from zero to 67 cases on May 19th, the highest number in the last 80 days.

The beginning of this increase was during the Semana Santa and Easter Week vacation period and, far from being controlled, it shows a dynamic of ups and downs until it registered a sustained rate of increase in the last week.

Social mobility is a factor in the increase in Covid cases
“As on other occasions, the increase in cases has been associated with social mobility, since we come from a holiday period with a long tradition in Yucatan with the arrival of national and foreign tourists, followed by the return to face-to-face classes in almost all of the educational establishments. and also to the fact that on many occasions, people tend to underestimate prevention measures.”

There are other potential causes that generate this spike in infections, such as people who have not been vaccinated. In Mexico, only 62% of the population has a complete vaccination schedule, adolescent immunization is just beginning, and preschoolers and schoolchildren aged 5 and older still do not receive this benefit.

On the other hand, Dr. Baeza Bacab explained that it has become clear that none of the vaccines protects 100%, so even with the complete scheme and with revaccination we are at risk of becoming infected. Although we must insist that any vaccine is very effective in preventing severe forms of the disease and therefore deaths.

Contagious variants, but less lethal
Fortunately, the mutations developed by the Omicron strain and its variants have made them highly contagious with greater transmissibility, but in exchange, they developed less aggressiveness for humans, which in most cases causes low lethality, as occurs in Yucatan where the last death due to Covid occurred on April 2, a month and a half ago.

In relation to hospitalizations, in the analyzed period two phases were also observed: an initial decrease, since they fell from 36 hospitalized at the beginning of March to 4 admissions on April 4, after this the figures of patients in public hospitals have increased maintained around 10 per day except for April 13 when 21 inpatients were reported. However, this week hospitalizations remain at around 15. For this reason, we must be alert to the risk that the increase in the number of new cases may be reflected in hospitalizations that could translate into a return to mortality due to illness. For now, the active cases have practically doubled since they went from 276 on the 1st. of May to 481 on May 19.

The doctor recommended not to lower our guard to prevent contagion.

“All of the above allows us to ratify a previous comment:“ The coronavirus pandemic has not disappeared, Covid-19 is not dead yet and we must not lower our guard. Let us remember that we have weathered the pandemic due to non-specific preventive measures, mainly the correct use of face masks and personal hygiene measures, not so much due to a healthy distance since it was always difficult to maintain a distance of 1.8 meters between people.”

“Despite the fact that the health authorities recently eliminated the mandatory nature of the face mask in open places, it is a good time to leave the optional use and return to its universal use, both in open spaces and, above all, in closed ones, such as basic education schools where children have not yet been vaccinated and could be transmitters of the disease in the community,” he said.

“The most important recommendation is prevention, prevention, and more prevention. We must have a proactive attitude that allows us to predict problems and act before they happen, waiting for an announced problem to appear can lead to greater complications. People who have not been vaccinated must receive the vaccine to avoid the disease and, where appropriate, serious forms and mortality, as well as maintain a low level of infections so that new variants do not arise that could complicate the fight against the pandemic.

The doctor was asked if the risks increase in the rainy season.

“It is unlikely that the rains constitute a risk factor as occurs with environmental pollution since the transmission of the coronavirus is independent of the vectors, mosquitoes, that proliferate at this time,” he replied. “However, if tropical storms and hurricanes occur this season, with the intensity of the events that occurred in 2020 when many localities had to be evacuated to prevent damage and there were prolonged floods, then the necessary mobility will emerge as a risk factor for the community transmission of coronavirus. That is another reason to have Covid-19 under control.

Two new threats
Doctor Baeza Bacab stated that in addition to the fact that Covid-19 is not gone, the world already has new and serious concerns with two other diseases that already cause fear and concern: childhood hepatitis of unknown cause, probably associated with superantigens of Covid- 19, and monkeypox, two diseases that are spreading to several countries, including the United States and Mexico, so we will have to continue with prevention measures, even if the coronavirus pandemic goes from epidemic to endemic, as seen with other infectious agents (rotavirus, influenza, malaria plasmodium, among others) which does not necessarily mean that it is gone for good, so prevention measures are still necessary.

The Yucatan Times
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