O A researcher at the University of Porto, stated that “Portugal is on the way to being one of the countries with the highest incidence in the European Union”, considering, however, that the “hospital impact” of the growth in the number of cases will be moderated by vaccination.
“Not only are we going to surpass the European average, we are going to surpass most of the countries of the European Union. It will be fast, another week or two we are ahead of almost all countries”, stressed the expert, noting that the country is ” Exposed” to the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, associated with India.
“We have some conflicting forces here,” he said, referring to the vaccination process, deconfinement, population mobility and the new variant, which “is rapidly gaining prevalence [em Portugal] and which has a very large impact on incidence”, contrary to the countries of central and eastern Europe.
Asked if the increase in the incidence rate would justify a setback in the measures of deconfinement, Óscar Felgueiras stated that “it is more a political issue than a properly public health one”.
“From the point of view of public health, we are in a situation that is clearly worsening, but we also know that with the effect of vaccines, the hospital impact is probably smaller than in the past, namely, in terms of deaths and admissions,” he justified.
For the expert, the issue is to “combine” the increase in incidence with the economic impact and mental health of the Portuguese, considering that this also depends “a little on the interests of the councils”.
As for the Delta variant, Óscar Felgueiras said that the moment of “super transmission” that occurred on May 12 in the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region “may have favored” its spread.
“This moment of super transmission may have caused the proportion of the Delta variant to have risen to a level different from that of the country. This, in itself, contributes to the fact that, even during similar behaviors, the contagion is greater” , he said.
According to the expert, the new variant will have a “tendency to spread” based on the behavior of the population that has been “incompatible” with the control of new infections.
“There was initially a focus that still exists in the municipality of Lisbon, which stands out within the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, but is spreading to neighboring areas such as Cascais, Sintra and Setúbal”, he referred.
Óscar Felgueiras also stressed that it is “unlikely for now to stabilize below the threshold [240 novos casos por 100 mil habitantes] next week, which according to current rules implies a risk of retreat” in the lack of confinement in the municipality of Lisbon.
In the last 24 hours, Portugal recorded over 625 cases of covid-19, but no deaths, with the number of hospitalized people rising to 340, of which 77 are in intensive care, according to data from the DGS.
Covid-19 has killed 17,047 people in Portugal out of 858,072 confirmed cases of infection.
Read Also: All EU countries have an incidence of less than 200 cases in 14 days
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