Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

In recent days the curve of new cases of covid-19 in Uruguay had a clear decline, after having reached the maximum peak since the start of the pandemic. It is a reality that is seen in several countries: unprecedented rises and falls almost as fast, which even led some governments, such as those of Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain or Switzerland, to lift the restrictions that are still in force or to decide that they will do shortly.

Graph of new cases in several countries

However, the question that arises in Uruguay is: is it because the peakor is it a consequence of changes in criteria for testing?

Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

Graph of new confirmed cases of Covid 19 per million people

Two weeks ago the MSP announced a change in testing protocols: basically no more asymptomatic people are swabbed unless they are cohabiting with a positive case. This caused a clear decrease in the number of daily testswith a curve that closely resembles that of new cases.

Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

Testing graph in Uruguay

the virologist adriana delfraro said to The Observer that although the statistics show a decrease in the curve of cases, they influence the lack of testing and changing protocols that exclude asymptomatic patients from daily statistics. She was “expectant to see if there is a tendency to decrease as the days go by,” but the specialist added that even at the beginning of February it is difficult to confirm this decrease.

He added that having reached a “peak” of active cases implies going through another in hospitalizations and deaths.

He is also a virologist Santiago Mirazo identified, like Delfraro, that the “current scenario makes it difficult to estimate the drop in cases due to the few tests carried out that result in fewer reported and active cases.”

Do the tests go down because the cases go down? It is a possible hypothesis. But in that case also I would have to lower the percentage of tests that are positive. Instead they are on a plateau with a slight upward trend, indicating that they are escaping without detecting more cases than before.

Of course, those that escape are asymptomatic cases or those with mild symptoms, which by definition are less contagious than the most symptomatic, so it is expected that, from a more or less high altitude, the current situation be the beginning of the descent of the curve.

Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

Graph of positivity in Uruguay

Mirazo gives an explanation that pays in that sense. The expert points out some indicators that allow us to venture at least a slowing of the curve. For example slowest growth in active cases, a drop in the number of reproduction of the virus and that although income to CTI increases, they do so more slowly. These three parameters, adds Mirazo, “They suggest that we are nearing the end, if not already past it, of the peak of active cases.”

Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

Reproduction index R in Uruguay

The virologist also insisted that the positivity rate stabilized a week ago and that the country is on a “small plateau where cases are beginning to drop.”

The specialist expects Starting next week, there will already be a marked decrease in active cases, while in mid-February, the decline will consolidate.

Mirazo and Delfraro consider that the decrease will depend on human action, that is, on how far the agenda of the third dose of vaccination advances and non-pharmacological care by society. Another factor to consider is the new subvariant of omicron, BA.2and to what extent it slows down the decline in cases.

Regarding deaths and admissions to CTI, Mirazo identified that “There is always a lag of 10 to 15 days, so it is expected that active cases will decrease but deaths will increase”.

Reported cases of covid-19 began to drop in Uruguay: what is the reason?

Graph of deaths from Covid 19 per million people

According to the expert, the decrease in active cases and the decrease in deaths are not processes that occur simultaneously, since from the eighth day of illness most of the admissions to the ICU only happen. He added that “once the drop in active cases is consolidated, after 15 days the drop in lethality can be observed.”

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