Cases of covid-19 have skyrocketed again in Portugal in recent weeks, and there are already doctors asking for the return of masks in some public spaces, as well as co-payment in tests, to try to stem the pandemic wave.
With the widespread end of the use of a mask, which is no longer mandatory in most public spaces, the number of cases of covid-19 was already expected to increase. But the numbers soared and there are suffocated urgencies with users at a time when there is already talk of the beginning of a potential sixth wave of the pandemic.
In view of this, there are doctors who ask for some backtracking on preventive measuresin order to stop the wave so that it does not become impossible to control it.
“We already knew that with the relief of measures, in particular the mandatory use of a mask, there would be an increase in the number of cases. But the truth is that going from eight thousand cases from average to seven days for 14 thousand casesas happened in the last month – and the latest data even show that we are at 15 thousand -, it is a very steep climb“, begins by highlighting the president of the National Association of Public Health Physicians, Gustavo Tato Borges, in statements to the Diário de Notícias (DN).
Tato Borges notes that the rise “is worrying” and warns that it also begins “to be reflected in the increase in severe cases and mortalityalthough to a lesser extent.
Therefore, he argues that “the ideal, at this stage, would be reintroduce the mask in some enclosed spaces with agglomerations of people, such as shopping centers, supermarkets and workplaces”.
At exceptions “could be, in schoolsthe classrooms, during the academic period, as long as they are well ventilated”, also points out the doctor in the DN.
Anyway, even if the mask is not mandatory, Tato Borges recommends its use.
The mathematical models of the specialists of Instituto Superior Técnico point to a transmissibility index (Rt) of 1.17 and it is assumed that there may be an increase in mortality in the next 30 days.
“Excessive pressure” on emergencies
With the increase in cases of covid-19, there has also been a rush to the emergency room in several hospitals across the country.
“In the last three or four days there has been a considerable increase of respiratory complaints and confirmed cases of covid” that “more than doubled compared to values from two or three weeks ago”, with “the percentage of positivity of the tests currently around 40%, which is remarkable”, highlights to DN the director of the emergency service at Hospital de São João, in Porto .
Last Monday, the hospital broke a recordwith more than a thousand people in the emergency room.
“The phenomenon was predictable”, notes Nelson Pereira referring to the end of the use of the mask, but also noting the “celebrations of the academic week of Queima das Fitas” in Port. Thus, it is not surprising that the majority of patients are “especially young people”as revealed.
However, it is necessary to face this “unreasonable pressure” on emergencies that worsen the quality of service. “Today, people will wait longer to be seen and stay longer in the hospital”, he notes.
Thus, Nelson Pereira asks testing policy changes.
“On the one hand, we say that the epidemic is no longer serious and we liberalize everything, but at the same time the sick continue to be isolated and need a special statement confirming isolation for work context. But as they no longer have shared tests, rush to the emergency room looking for the free trial and the declaration that allows them to stay at home”, notes the director of emergency care at São João.
Nelson Pereira defends, therefore, that “either it is important to continue testing and they return to share the testsor else it is assumed that it is not justifiable to test everyone and this becomes a disease like any otherwithout the need for specific declarations for this situation”.