Pulmonologist Raquel Duarte, who drew lines for the next few weeks at the last meeting of specialists and politicians at Infarmed and gradually proposed a plan to resign, believes the proposal to reopen the country is not “overly cautious” and says, that the goal is above all to “take safe steps”.
“Our goal was to start gradually and slowly, to take small but safe steps in order to be able to deconfigure step by step. We had a year to learn that there is no single measure that works. Everything must be based on strong public health services, good population testing, early detection of cases, implementation of early public health measures – like identifying contacts and isolating patients – and a good and quick vaccination schedule. All of this has to be on site. ”
Raquel Duarte was one of the experts called upon by the government to “think in a post-deflation response” with objective criteria regarding the country’s health situation at any time that would then enable him to make the political decision on opening of activities or otherwise it will end them. The proposal served as the basis for the plan that the government will present this Thursday and includes an assessment that must be carried out every two weeks.
School in Faro, Algarve RUI GAUDÊNCIO
According to the proposed plan, the opening of preschool and day-care centers should be the first national step. “Our goal was to make this action a priority in terms of the survey that had less impact on disease transmission but greater economic, mental and social impact on people. And the prioritization was carried out in this way, ”explains the PÚBLICO expert. “What we have seen in younger children is that the risk of transmission, disregard of the rules and territorial mobility is lower, but the social and mental risk is high. We also encountered some economic risk, especially for parents who had to stay at home. It was a low risk measure so it was one of the first to be included. “
In a different situation are the restaurants and similar activities jumping to one of the last spots on this suggested plan, but keeping the takeaway option. Depending on the development of the individual communities, the restaurants on level 3 can function as terrace service.
“We can have separate tables, but people sit down and take off their masks and talk as they eat. We have the risk of agglomeration, transfer and some risk of territorial mobility. Openness, on the other hand, has an important economic effect, but less of a social and mental impact, ”says the expert, adding that“ these effects were all severe ”.
Raquel Duarte also says the Portuguese people were going through a period of pandemic fatigue. In order to work out a plan for reopening the country, it was important to understand the risk of disregarding any measure. To this end, the experts prepared a questionnaire for a heterogeneous population group (different ages, sexes, work or place of residence): the absorption capacity for each measure was assessed and whether it was in line with the perception of these measures by citizens as “the most urgent needs”. In addition, in contrast to the first deflation, the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants, but also the ongoing vaccination process, had to be taken into account.
Regarding the plan that will be presented to the country this Thursday, the pulmonologist says it must contain (also) more “political” decisions. “One thing is the opinion of experts after scientific reviews and after listening to the population. The political part is responsible for listening to all of this, but taking into account other factors, including political ones, that we didn’t take into account, ”he says.
As Rui Rio said at the end of the virtual meeting with the President of the Republic this Wednesday, the rate of transmission of the disease is close to 1, which could hinder the long-awaited deflation.
This isolated increase is not a problem for the specialist, since it is a “small variation”. The most important thing is to draw attention to “real numbers in real time without delayed data”. “It is obvious that we need to watch out for all the indicators, but the Rt goes up on its own, which doesn’t worry me too much as the positivity rate was low. As we test more people (and are currently testing the highest and lowest risk contacts), we don’t find any more cases. “
The final proposal for the decontamination plan of this group of specialists will include some changes such as: B. the consideration of both the incidence (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days) and the disease growth (transferability index) for the constant assessment of the epidemiological situation. “We also want each community to be rated not only by itself, but also by neighboring communities. There are mobility mechanisms between municipalities that need to be taken into account. In the past, when incidence began to rise in one parish, the place quickly spread to neighboring parishes, which is natural.