keto. The use of masks and physical distancing should be implemented “more than ever” in the final weeks of the year to avoid the progression of COVID-19 and have a “family Christmas” and a new year without worries, says Ecuadorean epidemiologist Catalina Yipez, former advisor to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) PAHO).
If biosecurity measures are maintained, especially the permanent use of a mask and the distance of at least two meters between people, the infection rate and the demand for hospital treatment will decrease, Ypez noted in an interview with Efe.
Christmas Like 2019 in South America
With these considerations, the former PAHO adviser added, “We could have a Christmas similar to 2019’s Christmas,” although “without it being the same.”
He sees this possibility as true for almost all of South America, which has seen a high rate of vaccination in recent months and a significant drop in hospital demand.
“This respite, after more than 17 months of the pandemic, is happening throughout” this region, which has not been hit by the new variables in other latitudes such as Europe or the United States, he commented.
Se cree que en la región muchas variantes no han golpeado fuerte porque se han combinado factores como “la no relajación de las medidas” y, sobre todo, el uso de mascarillas en espacios cerrados y abiertos, lo que no en Europa o nicur United State.
This fact, he said, has generated what specialists call “hybrid immunity,” which refers to people who have outgrown frames of infection and have received, in addition, the full vaccination plan.
Patience and more tests
In addition, he noted that the vaccination rate against Covid-19 in the Americas reached 59% with two doses, compared to 57% in Europe, but noted that in the United States “there is no complete acceptance of the population. The vaccine.”
Yebes noted that vaccination coverage in Africa barely reaches an average of 6%, figures that “must be taken into account for context analysis”, as the coronavirus has shown that it also follows human mobility patterns.
“We need patience,” he said, and hopefully there will be several consecutive weeks without hospitalization, in addition to increased testing for infections.
The World Health Organization suggests that out of every ten tests that are administered, “only one should be positive,” Yebbes said, noting that what is really necessary is “continuing to do diagnostic tests to isolate positive cases and trace contacts, because only that will give Evidence of a decrease in transmission.”
He also suggested a series of protocols that families should follow to welcome their relatives on the December holiday.
He added that everyone who attends family gatherings must have the full vaccination schedule, and those who do not have that can participate by video or be present and always wear masks, as well as maintain an adequate distance.
Families hosting meetings should also ensure adequate ventilation, with at least two windows open so that air circulation eliminates the effect of indoor-generated aerosols that can be a source of infection.
In cities where it is cold, this rule should also be adopted, as it is better to “wear a coat rather than increase the risk of infection,” noted Yebbs, who also noted that people should be very careful in their workplaces, to go to family gatherings With greater guarantees.
Even, according to the specialist, a family reunion can take place without the use of masks, when all these conditions are guaranteed – such as a full vaccination table, caution in staying away from work and ventilation conditions in the nursery.
He stressed that “after the hug, come back to a distance of two meters again, so that the air circulates”, and the possibility of potential aerosols remaining in the environment is eliminated.