Ricardo Jorge Institute points to an end of excess mortality in Portugal

From the week of October 26 to November 1, Portugal recorded a number of deaths above what would be expected for that time of year.

From the week of October 26 to November 1, Portugal had an excess of mortality from all causes, that is, with a number of deaths above what would be expected for this time of year. After 17 consecutive weeks since then, everything indicates that the country is no longer in this situation. “Probable end of the period of excess mortality observed since week 44/2020”, says the last flu monitoring bulletin from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (Insa).

The report refers to week 8 of this year – from 22 to 28 February – and puts the number of deaths recorded that week within the levels expected for this time of year. A return to expected levels about four months after Insa marked the beginning of this long period with higher mortality. The document does not point out possible causes for the phenomenon. But this was the period in which the country saw an increase in cases of covid-19 and which, after a slight decrease around Christmas time, culminated in the third wave of the pandemic.

It was at the end of October that the daily number of deaths by covid started to rise, going from less than 30, to a maximum of 303 to 28 of January. In a recent hearing in Parliament, in the committee for monitoring measures to combat the pandemic, some of the mathematicians heard related a higher lethality to the less responsiveness that intensive care had, caused by the increase in patients needing differentiated care at the peak of the third vacancy.

According to data from the Information System on Death Certificates (Sico) of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), which the PUBLIC analysed at the end of January, this was the month with the most deaths in the last 12 years.

Also at the beginning of the year, there was a period of very low temperatures, very associated with the emergence of respiratory infections – this year there were practically no cases of flu, but the Sentinela Network detected other circulating respiratory viruses – and the worsening of chronic diseases, which end up resulting in hospitalizations, especially for older people and in worse clinical condition. Preliminary data from Insa, released by Jornal de Negócios in early February, pointed out that the cold had been responsible for 24% of the deaths recorded in the first month of the year.

With a clear reduction in the incidence of new cases of covid, the pressure on the health system seems to maintain the downward trend. As in the previous week’s report, the number of consultations in primary health care for reasons related to covid – which includes surveillance visits – continues to fall. At week 8, at national level, there were about 25 thousand, when about a month ago there were 200 thousand

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