Costa Rica has managed to maintain a flatter curve of contagion of covid-19 compared to other countries in Latin America. Panama has many more cases and when looking at how many positive tests compared to how many total tests, Panama’s numbers are double Costa Rica’s. In Costa Rica, 9.3% of the tests came back positive while in Panama 18.5% of the total were positive.
The main difference between the countries at the moment is that Panama is suffering from community infections, while the cases in Costa Rica have been traced to imported cases. That is, those infected have had known direct contact with another infected person. In Panama, communities are getting sick and the lineage of connections to original cases has been lost.
Panama realized too late that it had the virus when the first patient died of it. He was in charge of an academic center. Two days after his death, 8 positive cases and 66 suspected cases were discovered. By that time, it had been circulated for so long that the transmission chain was not easy to follow. The number of both cases and deaths has been growing exponentially. Costa Rica began preparing for the virus before it entered the country.
Panama has 5 million inhabitants but more cases and deaths from covid-19 than Colombia, which has 50 million people. It has similar numbers of cases and deaths to Mexico, which has 129 million people. This could have to do with the amount of travel that happens in Panama daily. It is connected with 90 cities in Europe and America every day. It’s airport in the capital received 16 million travelers in 2019, putting it at much greater risk than countries without so much travel.