The virologist Pedro Simas of the Molecular Institute of the University of Lisbon considers the deflation plan presented this Thursday evening to be “very good” and says that it will enable the country to use objective criteria such as the index to safely assume the portability and the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days.
According to the virologist, the two indicators are sufficient for the time being to measure the epidemiological development of the country. However, he emphasizes that in a few weeks it will be necessary to deal with third parties. “There is a decal situation [discrepância] more than a week between the increase in cases and the increase in hospital stays. At this stage, when the majority of the Portuguese population still lacks immunity and is in control, the virus will spill over into risk groups that have not yet been vaccinated. We have to be proactive, we have to anticipate this exponential curve. “
However, the specialist says that the measures now presented will only work if they are “supported by testing and screening of infected contacts, by vaccination and by the cooperation of the Portuguese”. For the university professor, who is also a university professor, it is only justified to remain in custody in a scenario in which the country is unwilling to complete this “list”. “I really liked the plan and the announcement of the Easter restrictions was extremely important as we need to go back then to avoid risky behavior like Christmas. This has to be clear and communicated now so as not to violate the expectations of the Portuguese, ”he said in an interview with PÚBLICO.
The “dropper” plan presented by António Costa provides for the reopening of day care centers, preschool and 1st cycle as well as ATL for the same age (among other things) for next Monday, March 15th. Pedro Simas, this was the “most natural” “measure.” It was the last thing that was closed, it must be the first that opened. I thought it was right that the 1st cycle should also be opened, I think it There are conditions for it. There is no point in maintaining this restriction, because even if we lower the rate of new infections even further, they will increase from the moment we suspect it. We have to be very careful when we pull back have to withdraw, ”says the virologist.
When it comes to testing, the expert is of the opinion that not only can it be “massive”, but it must also be “smart”. “The most important thing is to test intelligently and to test class samples with the quick tests, as they serve as a sentinel to what is going on in families. This is a smart way to monitor community broadcasts. And then, if there are positive cases from rapid tests, direct and indirect contacts must be isolated and the RT-PCR test performed, and screening and quarantine performed. “
The vaccination focus must remain in risk groups
The scientific researcher also mentions that it is crucial that vaccination continues to focus on the groups most affected by Covid-19 – not least because they put more pressure on the number of hospital stays, especially in intensive care units. And he says bluntly that the vaccination process “cannot be made out of political decisions, but out of decisions to save lives”.
“With the vaccination I see more and more groups in the first phase. I think the most important thing is to vaccinate risk groups as soon as possible. In the age group over 80, more than half or half of the people are still not protected. It is now important that the entry of teachers and school staff into the first phase of vaccination is announced so as not to lose sight of who the main targets of vaccination are, ”he says.
Also, according to the virologist, the problem that has arisen with the homes in recent months will be “solved”, both with vaccines and tests. Citing data made available to him on Thursday by the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, he adds that the home preventive testing campaign launched in October enabled 834 positive situations to be identified. “This means around 834 outbreaks have been prevented in these locations,” he says.
Pedro Simas is optimistic for the months ahead, saying the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine administration has been extended to groups over 65 and the arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccines in April will contribute at “different” times from the latter.
“At this point, it’s important to convey that when vaccines can protect against death and serious illness, getting the virus to spread more widely in the community is no longer a problem, as we are already protected. The potential for a fourth wave is very great, but we now have a structured monitoring plan with well-defined lines. We build the wall every day, which is very good, ”he concludes.