Update on Covid-19 in Costa Rica: February 18, 2021
Well, we have lived with the Covid-19 virus for about a year now. What a life-changing year it has been! Here is an update of how see things.
Because of Covid-19, we have washed our hands more times this year than in our entire life prior. We no longer see people’s mouths when they talk as we strain to understand their muffled speech. The hug or kiss hello is a thing of the past–a huge change for those of us living in a Latin culture. We have discovered that almost all social relationships can be maintained through video conferencing. We have binged on comfort foods and our favorite TV shows. We have exercised more (or less) and done more projects around the house (or none at all). All in all, it has been a unique year, no doubt about it!
What will life be like in Costa Rica during 2021 with COVID? It seems there will be improvement, but it is unclear yet how much or how fast as new case number are going down. Almost 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered, the office of the President announced Monday. With a population of 5 million, that puts our percentile behind the States and Canada. As has happened in most countries, vaccine supplies have lagged behind the hoped-for schedules, but Pfizer is working to improve the supply chain of its vaccine and plans to resume deliveries in mid-February. Costa Rica has also signed up for the AstraZeneca vaccine which recently was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.
After health-care workers, first responders, and nursing home residents, the vaccine will be given to citizens and residents age 58 and older. The next group to receive the vaccine will be those 18-58 who have risk factors. After them are the teachers, followed by those who work or study in clinical fields.
The country’s tourism board is certain that visiting Costa Rica is low-risk during the COVID mess. And even though they are the tourism sector, the truth is most things tourists do are outside. Worldwide it has been discovered that there are different strains of the virus, some more virulent than others. In my unskilled opinion, the strain that plagues Costa Rica does not seem to be as deadly as in other countries. In some small communities here a large percentage of the population has had the virus (as it spreads through families), and almost no one has been hospitalized. The mortality rate is extremely low. Even persons with high risk factors have beaten the virus without hospitalization. The maximum capacity of the country’s ICU beds has never been reached.
Of course, I am not promoting a false sense of security. One does not want to become complacent. Wearing an appropriate mask, washing one’s hands regularly and social distancing are still an absolute necessity. The advantage we have in Costa Rica is our year-round summer weather. There is no risk of cabin-fever! And socializing is even possible (with 6 feet of separation) at the beach or hiking in one of the many beautiful national parks, at restaurants with outdoor dining facilities. All that sunshine and fresh air is the best possible thing you can do for your lungs and immune system!
Many airlines have resumed flights to both international airports in Costa Rica. To enter the country, you will need to have completed the online “Health Pass” form which can be found at https://salud.go.cr. You must have proof of having obtained travel insurance, either a pre-approved Costa Rican policy from INS or Sagicor, or an international policy that covers COVID-19 medical expenses of at least $50,000 and $2,000 for lodging. A negative Covid test and quarantining upon arrival are NOT required.
However, you may need a negative Covid test to get back to your home country, check with your local and authorities. The test is readily available in the Playas Del Coco area, if you are coming contact me (see below) and I will send you the information.
Certainly, we all long for the time when life will be “normal” again. In the meantime, Costa Rica is a better much option to be located when deal with this pandemic. Be safe, be healthy and Pura Vida.
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