Costa Rica COVID-19
COVID-19 paid its first unwelcome visit to Costa Rica on March 6. Quickly, the government imposed some safety measures, but not draconian ones.
As of May 1, 2020, there had been 742 cases and 6 deaths. Compare this to other regional ex-pat favorites: Panama, with one million less inhabitants than Costa Rica counts 7,387 cases and 203 deaths, or Ecuador which counts 31,881 cases and 1,569 deaths. Why the discrepancy?
Reasons for Costa Rica’s Relative Success Against COVID-19
The main reason that Costa Rica has had such success in battling this infectious disease has been its investment in education. The average Costa Rican is comfortable making rational decisions without needing a military presence in the streets to mandate conformity. They have learned deeply about natural forces and have an understanding and respect for natural process, even ones as lethal as a coronavirus.
A second reason for Costa Rica’s relative success is its investment in health care. Costa Rica began this epidemic with 600 respirators. Its more populous neighbors started with the following numbers of respirators: Nicaragua 100, Guatemala 60 and Honduras 100. 2 weeks after the start of the crisis, Costa Rica had increased its strategic stockpile to 800 respirators. By April 3, Costa Rica had only 23 people hospitalized, with 13 in the ICU. Also, within those two weeks, the country built a hospital with a capacity of 88 new ICU beds.
What has afforded Costa Rica this ability to prioritize education and health? A simple reason: on December 1, 1948, the victorious general of the last revolution, decided to abolish the army. Since then, this small country has dedicated the military budget to education and health care. For 71 years CR has been combatting and preparing for real, not contrived issues that afflict people: hunger, ignorance and disease. These enemies cannot be defeated with bullets or missiles.