In an open letter, released today, doctors and pharmacists have spoken out against taking “extraordinary containment measures” to combat the pandemic, warning that they produce “more serious” effects than covid-19 itself.
In the letter, the 20 signatories paint a picture of the current situation in the country, stating that in the last 14 days (until July 8th), the covid-19 mortality rate was 0.03 per 100,000 population , against a mortality rate from other diseases and causes of death of 2.7 per 100,000.
“The average number of patients hospitalised for covid-19 was 528.7, in a total of about 21 thousand SNS beds, of which 17,700 were dedicated to covid-19” , underline the signatories, including the President of the Order of Pharmacists, Ana Paula Martins, pathologist Germano de Sousa and public health physician Jorge Torgal.
They further note that the incidence of positive tests was 254.8/100,000, “but the true incidence of covid-19 is unknown”, and that the “incidence” of infection among those who completed the vaccination plan is 0.01 %.
Against this background, the subscribers state that “it is not reasonable to combat the current situation – no longer pandemic, but endemic – by resorting to `sanitary` measures, whose effectiveness has been questioned by several prestigious researchers”.
They also consider that these measures produce “more serious effects for society and the common good than the disease itself” and that some of them “may have contributed to the increase in the circulation of the virus”.
“The risk of dying from a disease other than covid-19 is actually increasing in Portugal” , they say.
They are appealing to the health authorities and the Government so that, before making decisions with “huge deleterious potential”, they consider the scientifically based opinions of scientists and health professionals who, not denying the importance of covid-19, but whose response “priority” is to propose strategies that are different from those that have been followed.
For the signatories, it is possible to devise a strategy avoiding the use of the “wrong measures of general confinement”.
One measure suggestes is the “acceleration of vaccination”, simplifying the process, to avoid “excessively consuming human resources, which are lacking in health centres for the normal care of patients” and instead involving civil society agents in the process, for example pharmacies, to “rapidly increase vaccination coverage”.
They also suggest the improvement of epidemiological surveillance, which they consider “has been a failure in Portugal”, appealing for the cessation of “single weekend measures” and others of the same type, “which have already shown to have no impact on the number of new cases “.
“We are at an endemic stage and only the lack of knowledge about what is really happening on the ground can once again postpone the need to install a real-time computerised and centralised monitoring system for hospital beds, a factor that, during the last year, led to a closure of the provision of health care to `non-covid-19` patients”, they criticise.
In their view, this situation IS having and WILL have in the future, “disastrous consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality.
There is a “determining aspect”, to be taken into account in the “risk matrix”, because, they claim, “the risk of dying from a disease other than covid-19 is actually increasing in Portugal”.