Covid-19 Infarmed meeting underway

The meeting began shortly after 1000 hrs with an introduction by the Health Minister, Marta Temido and with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister in attendance.

OVERALL AND GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION

André Peralta Gomes, from DGS, pointed out that there is “good news” with regard to the country’s epidemiological situation: on November 25 there was a “consolidation of a peak” and there has been a “downward trend” of contagions, which is expected to be consolidated in the coming days.

There was a “relief in several municipalities, especially in the North”, although there, the incidences are still “very high”. In the Center and in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo it is also going down, but in Alentejo and the Azores it continues to go up.

Óscar Felgueiras, from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, said that in recent days there has been “an improvement” with regard to the situation in the North region. There was a “generalized decrease in almost all districts” in the region, except for the north of the Vila Real district. The areas of Porto, Maia and Matosinhos already have less than 960 infected per 100 thousand inhabitants.

The parishes of Paços de Ferreria, peaking on November 3, Lousada (November 6), Felgueiras (November 16), were the most critical municipalities. “When there are neighbouring counties, the peak occurs first in the counties with the highest incidence”, he defends. “The neighbourhood with a higher incidence should be considered a risk factor”, he says.

SOURCES OF INFECTION AND TRENDS

According to André Peralta Santos, the source of the infection (epidemiological link) is known in 13% of confirmed cases in the last week. “As the link is information filled in by doctors, it may be delayed,” said the person in charge of the statistics department at DGS. In these 13% where the source of contagion was identified, family contact had the greatest preponderance.

“In the older age groups, the peak will have been between 9 and 12 November, which prolongs the influx to hospitals”, says Felgueiras. The age group between 0 and 29 years old will have been the first to reach the peak.

TRANSMISSION FACTOR BELOW ONE

Baltazar Nunes, responsible for the Ricardo Jorge Institute’s epidemiological research unit, says that the RT indicator, which reflects the number of people infected with each positive case, continues to fall and is now at 0.99 nationwide. That is, an infected person does not get to infect another.

DECREASING MOBILITY

According to Baltazar Nunes, Portugal entered the group of countries that are in a “phase of decreasing notifications”. But this fall in incidence is recent and we need to wait some more time. The reduction in the number of effective contacts was decisive for this evolution.

Looking at the mobility of the Portuguese, there was a 20% to 30% reduction in mobility related to work, commerce and in the face of the period before the pandemic. And if you look only at the situation in the last three weekends, subject to more restrictive measures of circulation and collection, the reduction in mobility reaches 50%, a value close to what was seen in April, during the general confinement.

DEATHS TRENDS FORECAST

Manuel Carmo Gomes, professor of Epidemiology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCUL), began to make short-term projections. Deaths will peak at the end of this month, with an average of 76 daily deaths.

The total number of deaths accumulated in 2020 with covid-19 will be in the range of 6000 to 6500 deaths, the expert also projected.

The number of inpatients in intensive care units is expected to peak between 2 and 6 December, with an average seven days of 530.

PATIENTS WHO WENT TO INTENSIVE CARE MOST PROTECTED

João Gonçalves, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, discusses the functioning of future vaccines against covid-19. Highlighting that “the patients who had more symptoms and went to intensive care are those who have more protection. That is what the vaccine will bring, a high protection without symptoms”, he says.

A “vaccine capable of preventing disease and preventing transmission capacity” is the goal, but the starting point is that immunity will not be the same for everyone who takes it. “It is important to continue to protect groups at risk,” he says.

“All the phases that we have in the development of the vaccines are being carried out”, he guarantees, defending that the monitoring of the results and side effects should be done in the first vaccination times.

VACCINES

274 Vaccines under development

274 vaccines, 59 of which are already in clinical trials, 11 of which are in the third phase of testing, says Fátima Ventura, from Infarmed, on vaccines against covid-19. European Union secured six.

NEW OUTBREAKS EXPECTED

António Roldão, from the Vaccine Development Laboratory, stressed that the outbreak of new outbreaks is expected to be added to the 20 or so that emerged in the 21st century. This is because of increased mobility, greater interaction with animals and climate change.

In this sense, it is necessary to invest in vaccine production, in order to be “proactive instead of being reactive”, he added.

ABOUT A MILLION IN PORTUGAL HAVE HAD CONTACT WITH THE VIRUS

Henrique Barros, a professor at the University of Porto, now says that, with the data he has “we can imagine that at this moment there will already be one million people who had. With a wide margin of error, there are between 600 thousand and 1.8 million “. And he adds: “Between 15% to 20% of the population will already be immunized, due to contact with viruses. If they will be effectively protected it is one of the faces of this uncertainty that we have.”


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