Geospatial patterns of the temporal dynamics of COVID-19 and its social determinants in Costa Rica




Objective: The geospatial patterns of the temporal dynamics of the incidence of COVID-19 cases in Costa Rica are analyzed between March 2020 and May 2022, and explained from the perspective of the social determinants of health (DSS) in the territorial context, particularizing comparatively, in two periods of time or epidemic crests.

Materials and methods: An ecological study was carried out over counting weeks until the maximum case report was reached during the first and fourth peaks of the epidemic. Cartograms were designed to identify and analyze geospatial patterns, and explanatory Poisson regression and Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) models were built.

Results: Hot geospatial clusters with high temporal dynamics of case incidence were identified, as well as cold clusters, which evidence the role of the territory. The regression models indicated explanatory factors in the first epidemic peak, such as population density, overcrowding of housing per bedroom, internet connection, and the percentage of the population over 65 years of age. In the fourth crest, the predictive importance of territorial social development in its economic dimension and the possible role of other factors, such as population mobility in coastal areas of the country, were identified.

Conclusions: the temporal dynamics of the covid-19 epidemic, until May 2022, was spatially configured in clusters of socially determined hot and cold spots. The effects of DSS on temporal dynamics vary territorially and must be understood geographically.


Keywords: Coronavirus infections; Ecological studies; Geography; Social determinants of health.


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Author Biographies

  • Horacio Alejandro Chamizo-García, Faculty of Medicine University of Costa Rica

    Graduate in Geographic Sciences with emphasis in Territorial Planning, Master in Public Health, Academic Master in Epidemiology, Doctor in Government and Public Policies. Teacher and researcher with more than seventy scientific publications including books and indexed magazines. He worked at the Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, working from 1997 to the present, at the University of Costa Rica as a full professor. He has been director of the School of Health Technologies of the UCR Faculty of Medicine.

  • Juan José Romero-Zúñiga, National University of Costa Rica (UNA)

    Graduate in Veterinary Medicine, Master in Tropical Veterinary Sciences, Doctor in Epidemiology. He works as a teacher in the Master's Degree in Epidemiology, a full professor, in research and development in agricultural sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, UNA, National University of Costa Rica (UNA). He has published more than one hundred scientific works.

  • Suyén Alonso-Ubieta, National University of Costa Rica (UNA)

    Graduate in International Relations with a specialty in International Trade. Academic master's degree in Economic Policy with emphasis on International Economics. Doctor in Business Management. From 2006 to the present she has worked as a Professor and Researcher at the International Center for Economic Policy for Sustainable Development (CINPE) UNA. Her areas of specialization are: international trade, trade negotiations, local economic development and competitive performance of SMEs. She has 16 years of experience in university research and teaching and 10 years of experience in scientific editing.

  • Lilliam Quirós-Arias, National University of Costa Rica (UNA)

    Bachelor in Geography and Bachelor of Geography Master of Rural Development, Doctor in Geography. researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in Population (IDESPO) UNA, collaborator in the activities of the Wetland Laboratory of the School of Environmental Sciences. He coordinated the training activities of the Costa Rican Demographic Association, as well as the projects Geographical aspects of the evolution of the workforce and living conditions in Costa Rica, Study of various risks for typical communities in Costa Rica and Metropolitan Urban Planning of the UNA School of Geographic Sciences. She is currently dean of the Faculty of Earth and Marine Sciences at UNA.






Research article

How to Cite

Chamizo-García, H. A., Romero-Zúñiga, J. J., Alonso-Ubieta, S. ., & Quirós-Arias, L. . (2024). Geospatial patterns of the temporal dynamics of COVID-19 and its social determinants in Costa Rica. Horizonte Sanitario, 23(2), 11-20.

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