This Tuesday, Ricardo Mexia, president of the Public Health Physicians Syndicate, considered it “virtually impossible” to repeat the epidemic situation experienced at the beginning of the year due to the high vaccination coverage, but warned “not to lower the guard”. “.
Speaking to Lusa News Agency about the epidemiological situation in Portugal, Ricardo Mexia said that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was “expected” as a result of the winter and the resumption of a range of activities.
“Fortunately this increase comes mainly at the expense of the infection rate and the number of new cases. In terms of mortality and severity (demand for healthcare and hospitalization), though, they are not growing as fast as infection, which also leads to an expected coverage outcome. vaccination of the population.
According to a public health practitioner and epidemiologist, vaccination coverage and “better knowledge” of the disease allows for “some confidence” as to what is happening.
“But this does not mean that we drop our guard and reach a situation as happened in January and February of this year, which seems almost impossible to repeat, given our vaccination coverage, but on a smaller scale may have an important impact on both health care demand. and deaths.”
To stem the increase in cases, he advocated several measures such as accelerating the pace of vaccination of the “most vulnerable”.
On the other hand, people should realize that the epidemic is not over yet: “Although we have resumed almost all our normal activities, the situation is not really resolved.”
It is necessary to continue to maintain certain precautions, such as avoiding large crowds of people, especially in enclosed spaces, using the mask “for as long as possible” and continuing to sanitize hands, measures that allow “significantly reducing risks”.
Identifying the most vulnerable people and trying to minimize such contacts, especially without a mask, or having a diagnostic test for covid-19 are other measures recommended by a specialist, as well as testing for covid-19 if it appears. Symptoms and avoid contact with others. “This is essential,” he defended.
In response to a question about the possibility of returning to remote work, Ricardo Mexia stated that it can be included in the normal activity of companies, in jobs that can be performed in this way, by agreement of workers.
“Obviously maybe we don’t have to work remotely compulsively, but if there is that possibility, I think there can be gains (…) for the worker, for the company, for the community in the sense that there is less traffic motivated, there are fewer of things.”
Regarding its mandatory nature, the specialist stated that a “discussion” could be held if “the situation continues to develop with a significant increase in the number of cases”.
Regarding the Christmas outlook, he said he hoped there would be better planning and clearer communication compared to last year, to avoid the same outcome.
“It will not be Christmas as it was in 2019, but it will not be Christmas as it was in 2020 either. The fact that we have better vaccination coverage gives us other safeguards that we did not have in December last year,” he stressed for the vast majority in December last year.
He said whether the third dose of the covid-19 vaccine should be extended to other age groups is a scientific decision.
“If we start to identify in younger age groups that there is also a decrease in immunity eventually, this could be a situation that has to be resolved,” he said.
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