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Omicron in Portugal

Last updated on 28th December 2021

The epidemiologist  Manuel Carmo Gomes (Science Faculty of the University of Lisbon)  said that  Portugal might change its attitude towards the contention of the Pandemic.

“If Omicron really is much less serious than Delta in heavily vaccinated populations like ours, it might make more sense to let people immunize naturally. I have never advocated theories of group immunity due to natural infection, but we are in a completely different situation, with the population practically all vaccinated and a variant that, for now, does not seem to be of great concern in hospitalizations.”

Despite considering a hypothetical change in attitude towards the pandemic due to this variant, the epidemiologist argues that it is still too early to consider covid-19 only as an endemic disease, since the virus dynamics have not yet stabilized. “It is still an endemic epidemic disease, because it generates large, very abnormal rises, as in the case we are now witnessing. I would say that it has not stabilized its dynamics, it still has a lot of ‘fuel’ to consume and it will take some time for us to understand what kind of endemism we are going to have”, he summarizes. Asked about the possible reassessment of restrictive measures by the government on January 5th, Manuel Carmo Gomes avoids commenting, stressing that “it is essential to better understand the impact in terms of hospitalization” and says he hopes that there is already more information available about this new variant on that date . “If we can confirm that the impact is not very worrying, I don’t think we’re going to sacrifice the economy, primary health care or public health. Now, if the sign is more worrying in terms of serious illness that Omicron can cause, then things change”, he says, concluding: “If the danger is really not very worrying, it’s preferable to have this natural immunization to walk away chasing the fifth, sixth or seventh dose”.

Ursula Hahn
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