Matters raised by experts at Infarmed meeting on 10th November

The following is an extract of the part of the Informed meeting attended by the President of the Republic and Prime Minister open to journalists this morning

Peak wave may occur as early as next week

Epidemiologist Manuel Carmo Gomes, who at the last Infarmed meeting in Porto, had warned of the risk of returning to face-to-face classes, now pointed out in Lisbon that “at the end of this month” there will be a downward trend in transmissibility, albeit slow.

“Even though there are more cases, the speed is slower”, he points out, warning that in principle the peak of the wave may occur in early December.

According to the expert, with the current trend of Rt (transmissibility), the peak will occur from 25 to 30 November, with a maximum of daily cases not exceeding 7000.

First doses of vaccine may arrive in January

The president of Infarmed, Rui Ivo, admits that the first doses of vaccine may arrive as early as January.

The specialist in Public Health, Henrique de Barros, points out that “the information we have, at least in the North, in University Education, is of cases in which the contagion happened outside the space of the university’s activities”. That is, there will be no cause / effect for the frequency of classes.

Regarding restaurants, taking into account the data presented in the study carried out in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, in which the sector appears as the one that least contributed to the spread of the infection, Henrique de Barros explains that the people questioned indicated that they were at least 15 minutes in the place.

Intensive Care: tired staff, space problems and capacity limits

João Gouveia, from the Coordination of the response in Intensive Medicine, warned that ” the increase of beds in Intensive Care Units (ICU) alone will not solve” the difficulties that are felt, mainly the tiredness of the professionals and the lack of them.

As “the occupancy rate (ICU) has always been rising and does not allow us to provide more care for the patient”.

“Considering the trend observed in the last 15 days, it is projected that on November 24, 9308 cases will occur [daily of new infections]”, said João Gouveia, to warn then that some of the problems identified in the SNS UCI are due to the “lack of space, since some hospitals are outdated”, but that “the big problem is human resources [their lack]”.

Intensive care at “risk that cannot reach all patients”

In response to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s question about a possible “stress” situation in intensive care, João Gouveia, from the Response Coordination in Intensive Care, confessed that he is “very concerned”.

“We are at risk of not being able to receive all patients who need intensive care in the context of covid-19 disease. The units that are less crowded in other parts of the country may be at 60%, but they are smaller services. We have” “and we can go up to 967 beds. I am also concerned with the question of whether there is a third and a fourth wave, and that we have to live with this virus for a long time. Gouveia.

The goal now is to expand the capacity of care. “The commission has developed an expansion project that is underway, to get closer to the European average, but unfortunately it takes time. I am concerned. We are not in a situation of catastrophe yet, but we are already in situations of rupture in many places “, he lamented .

Gyms and face-to-face work with high risk of contagion, study in Lisbon points out

Henrique de Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, detailed a study carried out in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, between October 2 and November 6, with 782 infected people.

If, on the one hand, “the level [of infection] is much lower in those who attended shopping centres and restaurants”, or also, to a greater degree, “the use of public transport”.

On the other hand, “on the contrary, going to gyms, working in person or living in more crowded accommodation seems to be associated with an increased likelihood of infection”.

Of those 782 people, there were 234 refusals to respond.

“Almost 50% [of those infected] have higher education” and “a large majority slept alone”.

A large majority said they went to the gym – “at least once a week: 96.5%”.

Thus, said the specialist in Public Health, “gyms appear as scenarios where exposure to infection is more frequent”. As well as transport, albeit in smaller numbers.

On the contrary, the level is much lower in shopping centres and restaurants.

Peak daily deaths two weeks before Christmas

Manuel Carmos Gomes points out that in the ” second week of December, we will have an average of deaths between 95 and 100 daily”.

Once again, like Baltazar Nunes, Ireland emerges as an example of what can be an effective strategy: it managed to go from 1150 cases on 14 October to 350 cases on 12 November in one month.

Belgium, on the other hand, “had a very aggressive first wave and the second even more.” Still, “he managed in 17 days to reduce from 18,000 daily cases to 4,000” with containment measures. However, as some restrictions have been lifted, they are already rising.

70% do not trust the response capacity of the SNS against covid-19

Carla Nunes, from the National School of Public Health at the University of Lisbon, points out that, according to questionnaires carried out on the population in recent months, regarding the latest data, the vast majority were “not very confident or not at all confident with the National Service’s response. Health in covid-19 cases “.

More: “we are approaching 70% of people who are not confident or not at all confident about the SNS response to non-covid cases”.

About 40% have avoided going to health centres in non-urgent situations.

As for the measures adopted by the Government, a good part said they were “little or not adequate”. “Only 50% consider it adequate”.

Once again, as the National School of Public Health has been doing for several months, the positions of the Portuguese on the vaccines under study and the availability to take them were also questioned. “Most Portuguese are confident of the vaccine,” said Carla Nunes.

“But only 25% is available to take it immediately as soon as it is ready. But the vast majority admit that they prefer to wait,” he concluded.

High growth rate among children and youth in the North

The greatest increases in the numbers of covid-19 in the northern region, at seven and 14 days, in recent weeks have been seen among the younger population.

According to Óscar Felgueiras, from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, who presented the epidemiological situation in the Northern Regional Health Administration (ARSN), the numbers are decreasing in the older [older] age groups, even though they are the most elderly women are more infected.

In the district of Porto, in the age groups between zero and nine years old, and from 10 to 19 years old, the growth rate is 26% and 15% respectively. While, for example, in the age group above 80 years old there is already a drop of 12%.

Óscar Felgueiras started by saying that “even if mobility restriction measures take some time to have an effect”, there are already some data in the North that point to a stabilization of the cases, stressing that the family context remains the one where people are most affected.  (60%).

 


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