The nine cases of politicians from the New Progressive Party (PNP) who tested positive for Covid-19 after participating in primary events are not considered by epidemiologists and doctors as part of an outbreak: rather they attribute it to the new phase of community contagions.
Although the source of contagion seems to be concentrated in the committee of the candidate for governor Pedro Pierluisi, where most of the PNP figures infected, the health specialists consulted established that it is difficult to reach a conclusion like that.
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and Caridad Pierluisi, sister of the aforementioned candidate for governor, joined the list of seven New Progressives who contracted the virus during the dates coinciding with the electoral activities. In the midst of the campaign events, the Secretary of Health, Lorenzo González, warned on more than one occasion about the urgency of avoiding unnecessary congregations due to the pandemic.
The interviewees argued that the situation could rather be attributed to the new phase of the pandemic of community contagions and not an outbreak as happened in the past months in nursing homes, municipalities and residences, particularly due to the arrival of traveling relatives.
“They shared with so many and with so many people who evaluate the level of exposure risk is somewhat complicated already at this stage. The important thing about this and what I understand is that these politicians must communicate with the municipal tracking programs because they enter as a common citizen and based on the municipal tracking a case investigation is carried out, in which questions are asked to identify what the people they can name as direct contacts. In this phase, they will not be able to remember the people they shared with during the primary period, "said the epidemiologist Yaritza Martoral Martínez.
The health worker reaffirmed that" she would not call an outbreak "to what happened in the PNP. “The reality is that the analysis can be done to identify if they had a direct contact and there is a correlation between the positive cases, but at this moment it would be an extraordinary effort to be able to identify exactly if there is an outbreak in the PNP. What we can say is that there is a type of cluster (health events that occurred in the same place) because they shared at some point and there are images that show it, but there is no outbreak, "he said.
Martoral Martínez , who handles the tracking of Covid-19 cases in Guayanilla, indicated that the contagions in the PNP are an example of how to work for the future, since there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the novel virus. “People must be more responsible and not only being politicians, but people who follow politicians in the same way. They must take into consideration physical distancing, masks and avoid crowding of people, which also appeared in the executive order (due to Covid-19) and was not in compliance, ”he said.
The Department of Health did not respond at a request from this media if it has already started the search related to the infected politicians.
They fear that it will get out of control
The president of the College of Surgeons, Víctor Ramos, agreed by saying that the main problem is community contagion. “Outbreaks were what there were when people came from the airport, that half were associated with people who came from outside, half with family parties and those outbreaks could be clearly identified in those places. That happened between June and July, but now we have widespread community transmission. They are not outbreaks, "said the doctor.
" We are in a different stage of pandemic when we already have generalized community transmission, which means that you can be hit anywhere, "added Ramos.
He explained that the Tracing for Health is more complicated when there is a community transmission. “There is no worth tracking because you would have to have half the Country tracking the Country. You have already lost the level of hand tracking, which is always important, but more at the beginning when there are few cases, "he said.
The leader of the doctors pointed out that his fear is that people, including politicians , do not comply with the protection rules in the coming months. "One of two things will happen: we will be able to control ourselves because we follow the rules or everything will get out of control and it will be unstoppable," he warned.
The president of the Chamber, Carlos "Johnny" Méndez and the spokesman for the PNP majority in the Senate, Carmelo Ríos, also tested positive for the virus. They are joined by New Progressive legislators and leaders William Villafañe, Luis Berdiel, José “Pichy” Torres, Edwin Mundo and Omar Negrón, who receives medical care in an intensive unit. Before the primaries, the mayor of Canóvanas, Lornna Soto, also contracted Covid-19.
Cancel political activities
Pierluisi told EL VOCERO that they will not hold political activities that involve crowding until further notice and that will limit face-to-face meetings.
“The pandemic does not distinguish people, we are all exposed and therefore we have to be more careful and carry out all the necessary hygiene measures. As long as there is no effective treatment or vaccine, we all have to do our part to combat the spread of this virus, "said Pierluisi, who until yesterday had tested negative for Covid-19.
Tests are carried out in the PPD
Before the primaries of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), representative José “Conny” Varela became the first member of that community to test positive for the virus after undergoing a molecular test on July 17. In addition, Armando Legarreta, candidate for the Chamber for District 15 of Hatillo, Camuy and Quebradillas had tested positive.
Cirilo Tirado, who was the campaign director of the current candidate for governor Carlos “Charlie” Delgado, told this medium that after the primaries they have not been notified of positive cases in La Pava. In fact, yesterday it transpired that Delgado tested negative for a molecular test that was carried out last week.
“We have an active protocol for managing Covid-19 incidents, it worked and the party also established its protocol to enter here to the central committee. On the day of primary school we also had a protocol within the command committee at the hotel. So we take precautionary measures at all times with alcohol, a mask and a 'hand sanitizer'. We did not allow the public to remove their masks, ”said Tirado.