Portugal in a “moderately worrying” situation. Covid-19 to get worse in Europe – Portugal

O European Center of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) this Friday updated the risk levels of covid-19 in Europe and put Portugal in a “moderately worrying” situation, predicting an increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the next two weeks.

Portugal Covid-19

Portugal Covid-19 Reuters

“in week 44 [entre 01 a 07 de novembro], 10 countries of the European Union and European Economic Area – Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia – were rated as highly worrying, 13 countries – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania and Slovakia – as very worrying and three countries – Cyprus, France and Portugal – as moderately worrying”, says Ole Heuer in a written interview to Lusa agency in Brussels , of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

To these are added “four countries – Italy, Malta, Spain and Sweden – as of little concern”, adds the head of the ECDC’s department of contagious diseases and epidemics.

According to Ole Heuer, in this first week of the month (on which the European center has the most recent data), the “level of concern for the EU/EEA in general is very high, at 8.3 out of 10”, in an assessment that it takes into account test positivity rates and case notification rates, as well as indicators of severity (cases among people 65 years of age or older and admissions or occupancy or death rates in hospitals or intensive care units).

“At the end of week 44, the global epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA was characterized by a high and rapidly increasing global case notification rate and a low but slowly rising mortality rate”, points out the ECDC expert to Portuguese

“Case notification rates, mortality rates and hospital admissions and intensive care units are expected to increase over the next two weeks,” he anticipates.

Ole Heuer notes that “case notification rates are currently higher among age groups under 50, but notification rates among older age groups are also increasing rapidly.”

And despite noting that “the picture varies considerably from country to country”, the official adds that “the increase in case notification rates and a global epidemiological situation of great or very worrying are now observed in most EU Member States /EEE”.

On average, in the first week of this month, the global notification rate of covid-19 cases for the EU/EEA was 383.9 per 100,000 inhabitants (compared to 316.4 in the previous week). numbers have been rising for five weeks.

In turn, the 14-day mortality rate from SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes covid-19, was this week at 35.5 deaths per million population, compared to 32.3 deaths in the previous week, also increasing for five weeks.

At a time when 76.5% of adults in the EU are fully vaccinated, Ole Heuer explains to Lusa that this resurgence is due to the “relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions”, that is, the lifting of restrictive measures such as physical distance, use of masks, reduced capacity in indoor events/meetings and betting on telework.

“Although vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illnesses and deaths, vaccinated people can be infected and transmit covid-19, although to a lesser degree than unvaccinated individuals,” recalls the expert.

Ole Heuer safeguards that vaccines have indeed “played an important role” in “protecting people from becoming seriously ill and dying from covid-19”, given their effectiveness above 80% against serious disease.

Created in 2005, ECDC is a European agency advising countries on strengthening Europe’s capacity to defend itself against infectious diseases.

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