We spent the whole of last week holed up at home, as the last digit of our license plate meant that we couldn’t drive. Driving restrictions is the tool the government is applying to keep people from going out and getting together in public, in groups. Those who had license plates that allowed them to drive – one week day and one weekend day – had to be off the road by 5:00 pm. and stay off until 5 the next morning. Most businesses were closed. For those essential businesses that were allowed to remain open, wearing of masks remained mandatory and hand sanitizer application stations were placed at the entrances.
We hope this strategy works. The numbers last week were terrible, averaging ~500 new cases per day in a country of not quite 6 million people. This week restrictions are loosened up a little bit – we will have a total five days out of seven that we can be on the road between 5:00 am and 5:00 pm. Here, the alternating of strict and slightly less strict rules is called “the hammer and dance.” The Danse Macabre, maybe. That which, in the end, unites us all.
Our wi-fi went squirrelly last Saturday and then finally quit completely. No repair service over the weekend, so no internet, no email, no music. We’ve weaned ourselves off TV, so that didn’t matter. But our routines were disrupted. A couple or three days of not surfing the web, not checking the news. Funny to find that you can do without, you soon don’t miss it, fill the time with other things. The news isn’t news, really. Miss couple or few days, turn it back on, it’s the same old same old, giving you indigestion.
The other day a friend of ours called the ambulance thinking she might be having a stroke. Thankfully, it turned out to be real but not serious. She was rushed to the hospital. A little which later she called Irina saying she was already feeling better. Her speech was no longer slurred speech and she could feel and move her fingers again. The doctors did some tests and decided it would be best if they sent her to the bigger hospital in Alajuela where they did some more extensive tests and kept her for observation for a few days.
Folks in the States might find this hard to believe: nobody asked about insurance or where the money for hospitalization and treatment would come from. She will leave the hospital with no bill, no payment, no nothing except her health back. The hospital doesn’t even have a billing department.
Bless Costa Rica. Now if they can just manage to get the number of new coronavirus cases back down into the single digits. The number has been falling a bit so far this week, but there’s a long way to go.