Costa Ricans Live Longer Than We Do. What’s the Secret?

This is a long one, but since I have a brother living in Costa Rica, I thought he would find this interesting. I did; you might, too. And I think the U.S. could learn a thing or two from this article.


In the United States and elsewhere, public health and medical care are largely separate enterprises. Costa Rica shows the benefits of integrating the two—it spends less than we do on health care and gets better results.Photographs by Fred Ramos for The New Yorker

We’ve starved our public-health sector. The Costa Rica model demonstrates what happens when you put it first.

The cemetery in Atenas, Costa Rica, a small town in the mountains that line the country’s lush Central Valley, contains hundreds of flat white crypt markers laid out in neat rows like mah-jongg tiles, extending in every direction. On a clear afternoon in April, Álvaro Salas Chaves, who was born in Atenas in 1950, guided me through the graves.

“As a child, I witnessed every day two, three, four funerals for kids,” he said. “The cemetery was divided into two. One side for adults, and the other side for…

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There’s a Killer Out There

I know you’re getting anxious to go back to work.

I know you’ve got bills to pay, and you’re worried.

I know you’re just flat tired of sitting around the house, and that you think your precious freedom is being taken from you, and you really need that hair cut by now, and all the other reasons for wanting your life to get back to normal.

But friends, it can’t. Not yet.

There’s a killer out there, a silent assassin, and it’s got one hell of a body count that grows exponentially by the day.

It’s not a hoax. It’s not “just the flu.” It’s the real deal.

You may not like it; I don’t. But you can’t ignore it, deny it, or refute it, just because you’re scared. The best you can do is acknowledge it and follow the warnings of the health experts trying to prevent the spread of it.

Get this straight: Nobody is trying to deprive you of your freedom or your rights.

They’re trying to keep you from dying. Plain and simple. This is a major public health issue, and it takes precedence over the economy. Period.

It’s about trying to stop a killer, one that doesn’t care if you’re white or black, male or female, Republican or Democrat, urban or rural. It is ruthlessly indiscriminate, and we must do all we can to defend against it.

That means staying home.

That means wearing a mask if and when you go out.

That means washing your hands religiously.

That means social distancing.

That means not marching downtown with your automatic weapon and trying to bully anyone into opening everything back up. Grow up, will you?

This is gonna be a long, tough fight. And it’s gonna take all of us doing what is necessary to win.

So, please, folks, hang in there awhile longer. We all want things to return to normal.

But that’s not reality. Not yet.

Be safe.