Belize just became one of the lucky few countries that have managed to get a handle on the new coronavirus.
On Tuesday, May 5th, Belize officially joined a list of only eleven countries to report zero active cases of COVID-19 after battling the deadly virus.
So how did Belize, one of the last counties in the region to import a COVID-19 case, become among the first in the world to rid itself of it?
Some of Belize’s inherent characteristics are being regarded as contributing factors in stopping the spread of the virus that brought the entire world to a halt.
If you have ever been lucky enough to travel to this beautiful tropical destination, a few things may have stood out to you:
Belize is Young.
A recent study by The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that age may play a significant role in not only the severity of infections but also people’s susceptibility of contracting the new coronavirus. The average age of the Belizean population is just 22.4 years old! Because the average Belizean is barely older enough to buy themself a cocktail at your neighborhood watering-hole its citizenry seems to have been far less affected than countries with older populations like Italy where the average age is more than double at 45.1 years of age.
Belize is HOT!
This makes Belize the perfect place for beachcombers, drinks in hand, to hang out for hours. However preliminary research indicates that this hot climate may be less than ideal for pesky viruses to hang out. The less time a virus is able to cling to a shared surface, the less likely it will be able to find another host to latch on to.
Belize is Secluded.
Those who have spent time traversing Belize by car will be familiar with long stretches of road surrounded by pristine rainforests, savannas, and mountains with very few inhabitants in sight.
While this often makes for awe-inspiring commutes, it is also a major factor in impeding viruses that rely on human to human contact in order to spread. The population density of Belize is 37 people per square mile. That means on average you would find fewer people in a square mile of Belize, than you would at your local Walmart. Compared to places like New York City where 27,000 people inhabit every square mile it is easy to imagine why transmission rates would be far less in Belize.
Belize however has not come out of this crisis completely unscathed, its economy has been hit especially hard due to its reliance on international tourism, despite this fact though, the overall sentiment on the ground is thankfulness.
Belize is thankful, now more than ever, for wide-open spaces, for warm weather, for all the young Belizeans who will remember this pandemic only as a speed bump on the road to a brighter future.
Thankful because we know that all the natural beauty that has made Belize one of the world’s best destinations isn’t going anywhere, it will still be here, waiting for you.