Column of Marcela Garrido and Cinthya Urquidi: 18 for sure

By Marcela Garrido and Cinthya Urquidi, Department of Epidemiology and Health Studies Universidad de los Andes.

The national holidays are approaching and with it the plans to attend different social, cultural and recreational activities, which will be limited by the current pandemic. Although the current epidemiological situation is quite favorable, with a large drop in the number of cases, the gradual vacating of ICU beds, the vaccination coverage achieved, and the start of the booster dose, the pandemic is still present, and the Delta variant has already arrived in Chile.

To reduce the risk of contagion during these celebrations, we should prefer outdoor activities, avoid crowds and the well-known self-care measures, which will be favored with inns in neighborhoods with limited capacity, where we can better supervise them. However, the self-care measures supposedly “already learned” by the population that will allow us to have a 18 insurance will not be impervious to the effect of a very frequent variable in these festivities: excessive alcohol consumption. The SENDA results indicate that 74% of those surveyed have maintained or decreased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic, the lack of opportunity being the main reason, on the other hand, 21% increased their consumption. Now that we will have more alcohol available for consumption, how can we ensure full compliance with self-care measures in an inn with limited capacity and ventilated space, but under the influence of alcohol?

Unlike the previous year and other festivities, for a “18 insurance”, individual social responsibility and self-control will prevail. The reality of the current context of the pandemic is a new highly contagious variant, with community transmission and with an uncertain scenario about the protective effect of the vaccine widely used in Chile on it. Let’s not forget to be responsible.

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