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Brit tabloid under fire from Portuguese press for ‘distorting epidemiological reality’

53distort realityWith summer at the door, vacations are among the topics that most arouse interest for those who have been confined for three months because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. British tabloid Daily Mail chose to write an article, published yesterday, in which it compares the COVID -19 infection rates per million inhabitants among the main holiday destinations of the English population.

The conclusion of their analysis, with the indicator being the new daily cases during one day, was that only two countries have higher infection rates than the United Kingdom: the USA and Portugal, with whom the British executive is in negotiations to facilitate summer travel. Augusto Santos Silva, the Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs, when questioned about the situation speaks of “information not contextualized”, in an interview with Diario de Noticias, the newspaper that wrote a piece on the ‘distortion of reality’ earlier today. According to the minister, “the epidemiological situation of a country cannot be discussed based on a day and an indicator”.

Silva recalls that when comparing the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal with that of other countries, it cannot be dissociated that the Portuguese are among those who carry out the most screening tests for the new coronavirus per million inhabitants. At the moment, 83,000 analyzes are collected for every million citizens. There are also other indicators to take into account, such as the average number of infections that each infected person causes over time (RT), deaths, hospitalizations in wards and intensive care, for example.

53covid casesThe accounts of the British tabloid – which is among the best sellers in the United Kingdom with a circulation exceeding 1.17 million – do not include these factors.

In an infographic created by the Daily Mail itself, Portugal is presented as the country with the greatest risk of contagion in Europe, but where it should be possible, says the newspaper, to spend holidays, in addition to Italy, which this week reopened the borders to the Schengen Area .

Portugal is placed ahead of countries like Spain, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Greece, Holland, among others, as having a higher rate of infection. And even the United Kingdom itself, which this Thursday, recorded an additional 1,805 cases of coronavirus and 176 deaths. In total, this country now has 281,661 cases (fifth highest number in the world) and 39,904 fatalities (second largest in the world). On the same day, Portugal recorded 331 more new cases and eight deaths. In total, since the pandemic began, there have been 33,592 infected and 1455 deaths in the country.

Proportionally, the total number of cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic per million inhabitants places Portugal in 23rd place in the world ranking, with 3235 infected per million, according to data available on the EyeData platform developed by the Lusa agency. Behind Spain (6151 cases per million), the United States (5813), the United Kingdom (4209), Italy (3869), the United Arab Emirates (3775).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also raises the question of the region targeted by most Englishmen during the summer: the Algarve, which has “very low numbers compared to the rest of the country”, highlighting further the duplicitous nature of the tabloid’s data presentation. At the moment, the Algarve region has 376 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths, according to the epidemiological bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health.