“We cannot face a new wave that introduces a new wave of hospital admissions,” warns Carlos Antunes, researcher at the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon. The team is working on a risk analysis model to understand how far it is necessary to descend on covid-19 in terms of the incidence of new infections, risk of transmission (Rt), and positivity rate in the entirety of the tests in order to think about deflation and what limits should not be exceeded. Although levels are falling, the model shows that hospital stays shouldn’t reach a level until late March that will allow hospitals to breathe with some relief.
“We can only assume if we have an extremely low value from an epidemiological point of view. But we know that even this is not enough due to hospitalization since the occupation [de camas hospitalares] It’s long for this type of pathology, ”says Carlos Antunes, who teams up with epidemiologist Manuel Carmo Gomes, one of the specialists who regularly attend meetings with politicians at Infarmed. The next should be this Tuesday before the renewal of the state of emergency and the Council of Ministers, which will determine the measures to be applied.
Which values do you have to descend on? “Incidence rates below the average daily cases of 2000, Rt below 0.9 and positivity below 5%. Only when we reach this level will our risk analysis show that we are at a safe level. But we know that even under these circumstances the hospitals will still be full. It would be ideal to reach fewer than 3000 hospital residents and fewer than 300 occupied intensive care beds. The model only gives me these values for the end of March, as the length of the hospital stay worsens, ”he affirmed. A duration that can be even longer as the proportion of younger patients in the intensive care unit is increasing.
Even if the numbers are falling, the Directorate-General for Health’s bulletin reported 3508 new cases of infection this Sunday. It is necessary, however, to consider the impact of the weekend on the reports and 6248 patients with hospital patients which 865 were in intensive care – “only Rt is favorable”. According to the latest publication by the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (Insa) the average value between January 27th and 31st was 0.92. The other indicators, says Carlos Antunes, “are still at a very high level: the positivity is declining, but it is still in the 15% zone, and the average incidence is 6,000 cases of infection.”
Experts want to address these indications to policy makers. And that it is necessary to set limits from which to act when there is a lack of definition. Mainly because of this mechanism, explains the expert, the infection is only reduced to a certain limit. “There is a part of mobility that persists and continues to create contacts. We believe that in return, attempts can be made to double or triple the tests. We currently run 4.7 tests per thousand residents. “
This is another indication that they want to emphasize to politicians that anyone who is at risk of contagion, for example to work in the present, should be tested regularly. Together with the strengthening of the examination of suspected cases and the trackers to control the chains of infection. “The concerns are the asymptomatic ones, which still make up around 70% of those infected,” and which, if they are not detected in the screenings, could lead to new infections.
Given this scenario, Carlos Antunes shouldn’t think about deflation until March. That you can start in schools and with students up to the age of 12. “It’s what the experts in the field indicate, but gradually so that we can monitor the impact of the opening. We have two indicators that show that after eight days of school, the acceleration of the variation in the number of cases has dropped dramatically, ”he says. Pedro Simões Coelho, coordinator of the Covid19 Insights project, had also pointed out this effect, who informed the PUBLIC that within a week it would be possible to reduce the transferability of the virus by 35% to 40% a safety barrier for the start of a gradual one Deflation 5000 new cases of Covid-19 daily.
“The ideal is to do a little more than the virus so that once people are infected they are automatically isolated. This is how the pandemic is controlled. We try to convey that in order to fight the pandemic we must have thresholds and not exceed them, “Carlos Antunes emphasizes, that” it is necessary to act before reaching the red line “. “If my maximum threshold is 4000 daily cases, an Rt 1.10, and a positivity of 10%, I will have to do whatever I can to avoid reaching that value. That is the strategy “, the expert affirmed, pointing out that these are the thresholds that they have set in the country” on the basis of an analysis of the history and the pressure that the situation is putting on hospitals “.