July 29, 2021

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Protect yourself from the contagion of COVID-19 during the electoral elections

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Puerto Rico – Not following the prevention rules against COVID-19 during the election process could bring with it a super spread of the virus in the next 14 days, warned in an interview with La Perla del Sur, Cruz María Nazario, professor at the Graduate School of Public Health of the Department of Epidemiology of the Medical Sciences Campus (RCM) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

As he explained, it will be key in these general elections that voters use their mask correctly and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet between people in the voting centers at all times.

Similarly, it must be ensured that there are no more than 6 people at the same time in schools and that commonly used objects such as “sharpies” used to mark ballots are constantly disinfected.

Nazario understands that the lines with older people from very early in the morning are probably smaller due to the large number of people who requested an early vote; Even so, she insists that people understand the importance of maintaining distance, because when she herself attended to cast her early vote, she witnessed how people clustered together and did not keep the recommended distance of 6 feet, even between school officials.

“People must understand that I wear the mask to protect you and you wear the mask to protect me. This must be an altruistic message, ”insisted the professor in Epidemiology, who recalled that COVID-19 is spread by contact with droplets of saliva that can be kept – according to studies – between 3 and 12 hours in the air.

If voters and school officials do not use their masks correctly, it is very likely that they can be infected by asymptomatic people during the electoral elections and the numbers of COVID-19 cases will increase in the next two weeks, Nazario said.

On the other hand, the celebrations for the preliminary results after the elections can be a source of contagion as they were in the past primaries, he warned.

As Nazario explained, the celebrations bring together many people in the same place; to celebrate people drink and take off their mask, more in addition to that, even if they use their masks, when they shout or sing they can expel droplets of saliva that can remain in the air or on surfaces that people then touch and put their hands on the eyes, nose or mouth, thus promoting contagion.

Studies indicate that on cardboard or banners the virus can remain from 2 to 3 days and on plastic, up to 4 days, Nazario stressed.

The professor in Epidemiology concluded by calling for prudence, to be cautious to avoid getting infected and then infecting relatives and the most vulnerable people at home. “We are having at least 200 to 300 infections daily in Puerto Rico. In other countries they have managed to control the spread by following the rules of prevention, “he said, while calling for the prevention of over-spreading after the elections.

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