Better or worse: infected always rising after a million tests in three days (analysis)

Better or worse: infected always rising after a million tests in three days (analysis)
Better or worse: infected always rising after a million tests in three days (analysis)

In the last week, eight times more tests were carried out than in the same week of 2020. On the 30th alone, there were more than 400 thousand, a barrier that had never been surpassed before. Comparison reveals that the pandemic is spreading, but the severity is less, as shown in the “Better or Worse” section of CNN Portugal

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If “test, test, test” was the mantra of the fight against the pandemic for more than a year, never more than now the Portuguese have responded to the challenge. This December 30, 403 thousand tests were carried out, bringing to almost one million the number of tests carried out in the three days before New Year’s Eve. In the last week, eight times more tests were performed than in the same week in 2020.

Laboratories have had queues at the door and the values ​​are so high that there are epidemiology and virologists now recommending less testing. As the CNN Portugal table shows, in the last week days there was a daily average of 232,000 tests per day, which is exactly eight times the average in the same week last year.

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In today’s report “Monitoring the red lines for COVID-19”, published weekly by DGS and INSA, it is written that “the proportion of positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 was 6.7% (the previous week was of 3.4%), above the defined threshold of 4.0% and with an increasing trend”. Among the tests performed, there was an increase in “especially rapid antigen tests” in the last seven days.

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The increase in testing contributes to the growth in the detection of infected people, which this Thursday (according to data published on Friday) for the first time surpassed thirty thousand in a single day. By comparison, the number of infected is equivalent to 7.6% of the number of tests over the last week, a lower proportion than that which was verified in the same week last year, of 12.8%.

The table summarizes data for the seven days of the week before the end of the year, during which there were four consecutive days of daily record numbers infected. This week, there was an average of 17,658 infected per day, more than four and a half times of the 3,720 infected on average per day in the same week in 2020. Contrary to what happened a year ago, more infections do not mean more seriousness in the increased mortality or hospitalizations. On the contrary: there are almost 80% fewer deaths, 67% fewer hospitalized and 70% less in intensive care units.

Less severe pandemic

CNN Portugal is publishing this analysis on weekly data to deepen comparability, for example avoiding comparing a weekday this year with a weekend day last year. It does this to measure not only absolute values ​​but also to be able to gauge the gravity compared to the past. As several experts have pointed out, the Omicron variant, now dominant, has a very high transmissibility but its impact is smaller from the point of view of the development of severe disease and mortality.

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These indicators show that the pandemic is more widespread but less severe this end-of-the-year week than it was a year ago. For this, vaccination and a lower virulence of the Omicron variant will contribute.

Notes: The ratio between the number of infected and the number of tests performed is not the official rate of positivity, as many of the confirmed cases may refer to delayed analysis (it is still an approximation to this rate).

Likewise, the relationship between hospitalized and infected is an indication that should not be forgotten that many may become hospitalized only some time after the infection.

 
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