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prima:COVID-19 and dengue alerts

July 7, 2024 - 12:40 PM

Given the dramatic increase in the incidence of COVID-19 and the epidemic increase of dengue, it is necessary in Puerto Rico to redouble prevention measures to avoid massive contagion and, in the case of the coronavirus, to insist on raising public awareness of the need to be vaccinated.

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Lee este artículo en español.

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Although it is true that COVID-19 currently has a less aggressive profile - although equally contagious, according to epidemiologists - the fact that more than 80% of the population is not up to date with their vaccinations places many people at risk of contracting the disease and transmitting it to their family or work circle.

Summer activities, in the form of meetings and artistic events, and the fact that, according to some doctors, “people have lost respect for Covid”, may contribute to the formation of a perfect storm, the consequence of which would be a greater number of contagions.

Health authorities have not failed to highlight the impact that coronavirus disease can have on older patients, or those of any age who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing conditions. Similarly, the chain of infection has a negative impact on the economy and education, due to increased absenteeism.

No matter how mild the COVID-19 virus may be, the discomfort often prevents the performance of functions, apart from the risk that a sick person may have contact with others, especially in closed environments. It is not in the best interest of any company for dozens of workers to become ill at the same time, and that is what has happened recently as a result of the present outbreak.

COVID-19 may now require fewer hospitalizations, but even so, as of July 3, 308 people were reported to be confined in various hospitals, including 50 children. We are nowhere near the pandemic crisis of four years ago, but it is up to us, who already know the extent of the virus, to take the appropriate measures to avoid getting sick or making others sick. The Department of Health also reported on Wednesday 12 additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths on the island to 7,489 since the pandemic began.

With a positivity rate of more than 40%, it is time to return to masks in the case of activities with large crowds, and even in visits to commercial establishments where a simple sneeze can represent a collective contagion. Some hospitals and medical offices have already sent out circulars advising that they will require masks for access to their facilities.

In the midst of the electoral maelstrom, only four months before the general elections, it would seem that the government has stopped prioritizing health issues. This is a serious mistake, considering that as November approaches, rallies and caravans will multiply, and lowering the guard in such circumstances may represent an outbreak of incalculable extension with the consequent overcrowding in emergency rooms.

To make matters worse, adding pressure to an already vulnerable health system, the already documented epidemic of dengue fever has been added to the increase in COVID-19. The Department of Health has just extended the epidemic alert for this disease until December, due to the 353% increase in the transmission of the virus during the first half of this year, compared to last year. Dengue, which includes at least five variants, some of which are very serious, requires the use of repellents and the eradication of stagnant water.

Therefore, avoiding or minimizing the symptoms of a disease with simple preventive measures or with a vaccine is an individual commitment and a collective effort in which we must all participate. The combined vaccine against Covid and influenza is expected to be available in Puerto Rico by the end of August, with the advantage that this formulation will cover the new variants of both diseases.

Today, after experiencing the terrible effects of a life-changing pandemic, there is no excuse for laziness or ignorance.

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This content was translated from Spanish to English using artificial intelligence and was reviewed by an editor before being published.

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