COVID-19 in Las Tunas

The increase in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Las Tunas seems to be no limits. At least that is what the numbers with which it closed in July indicate. And it has been precisely at this time of the peak of contagion when mass vaccination began here, an action that brings the challenge of the false perception of security.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- By far, by far, the seventh month was the worst in the pandemic so far in the territory, and there are the statistics to prove it. Its total number of notified cases (5,648) doubled the sum of those diagnosed in 15 months. Besides, there were many new positives in a day never seen here before; the largest was on July 28, with 499 new cases reported.

Tables of data in hand, the mathematicians of the University of Las Tunas detail that the province continued to increase its incidence rate steadily with 3,810 cases at the end of the last 15 days, at a rate of 254 every 24 hours, with which the month ended at the rate of 182 cases per day, three times more than those registered in June. The global balance of the territory is also negative when its evolution is observed throughout its 31 days. In fact, as of July 10, 100 or more cases were always reported on each of those days.

All of the above was expressed, unfortunately, in the deceased patients due to the COVID-19, 12in July. That is equivalent to almost half of all those registered between March 2020 and June 2021.

In general, all municipalities saw the figures of contagion rise compared to June. "Colombia" continued to occupy the second place in a list in which nobody wants to be the first. Even “Jesús Menéndez”, which continues to have comparatively the best indicators, saw the number of new positives notified in that demarcation increase 10 times from one month to another. However, the worsening of all the figures in the province has been due, above all, to the disastrous numbers in the municipality of Las Tunas, where two out of every three new notified patients in July reside, and 80 percent of those who have died from COVID-19.

In July, the new protocols for the diagnosis and clinical management of COVID-19 confirmed patients, suspects, and contacts came into force. This change is forced more by the circumstances, than by the will of the authorities, as admitted in a recent radio and television appearance by Manuel René Pérez Gallego, the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in the province.“In recent days, there has been an increase in bedridden elders with the disease, which corroborates that we are not complying with the guidelines within homes.

Community actors can also contribute to the surveillance of those who are admitted to the houses. The Health Sector and other organizations can make all the effort; but, if people do not take care of themselves or comply with the indications, it will not be possible to stop the spread of the disease,” reflected Dr. Gregory Pérez Héctor, provincial deputy director of Health. More clearly impossible: the fact that it is now the community, specifically people's homes, in which the suspects or confirmed asymptomatic must remain, and where other epidemiological surveillance procedures take place, poses an enormous challenge for the whole society.

Responding to the epidemiological situation already described, it was in the provincial capital where the mass vaccination of its population older than 19 years began on July 29; while in the rest of the territory protection with “Abdala” is already advancing among those admitted to the nursing homes, those suffering from kidney diseases that require hemodialysis; as well as among pregnant women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and mothers who breastfeed infants under 1 year of age.

The effectiveness of this product from the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) is more than demonstrated. But experts insist that we must let it do its job; simply complying with the well-known sanitary measures.

Abdala anti-COVID-19 vaccine is applied in Las Tunas

It is worth remembering that "Abdala" needs at least 14 days after the third dose to reach the necessary levels of antibodies to face SARS-CoV-2 without the danger of severity or death. Also, it requires high enough percentages of the vaccinated population so that the virus begins to cease to be a danger.

Even adding those who have already completed the vaccination schedule, when the current immunization process ends, "Abdala" would only be on the shoulders of, approximately, 34 percent of all the inhabitants of the province. If all goes well, around mid-September one in three Las Tunas inhabitants will have enough antibodies to be successful in the face of the new coronavirus. Therefore, it is premature to expect a sudden reduction in cases in August. In fact, mathematical models do not announce an improvement; on the contrary, only in the week from 22 to 28, some 3,892 patients are predicted.

This seems to be a decisive moment in the fight against the COVID-19 and although vaccination promises, the effort of Cuban scientists will be useless if it is not accompanied by a responsible attitude from everyone.

COVID-19 in Las Tunas