Covid numbers in freefall as parents (and children) ‘don’t understand’ why masks still need to be worn in schools

Monday’s Covid bulletin shows Portugal’s numbers now are in free-fall. But the day is also serving to highlight the ‘lack of coherence’ in government decision-making.

Very much as IL leader João Cotrim de Figueiredo stressed last week, parents, children, schools associations are all less than convinced that masks are needed in the classroom, but don’t apply in crowded bars or discotheques.

As reports explain, the insistence that classes must still go ahead with teachers and pupils wearing masks simply ensures that “difficulties in dialogue and communication” will persist for another five weeks.

It may not sound long, but for many of those affected, it seems an unnecessary period of time.

Conversely, experts are showing little sympathy. There are even some who given half a chance would see the mask rule ‘reintroduced’ to bars and discos. Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the association of public health doctors, says in ‘theory’ disco dance floors should be separated from drinking areas, and people on them should be wearing masks…

Moving swiftly on, today’s numbers have registered only 5,789 new cases (Monday traditionally is a day where numbers are low due to certain laboratories being closed at weekends) and almost 20,000 ‘recoveries’ (people no longer testing positive).

The last 24-hours have seen 35 deaths registered with Covid-19, which is still well above the ‘average of 20’ that experts want to see established before any further restrictions fall.

Rt and incidence however have reduced dramatically. The former is now pegged at 0.70 (it was at 0.73 on Friday); the latter at 2,890.9 cases per 100,000 (it was 3,833.4 on Friday).

Hospital numbers are down to 1,832 of which 114 are in intensive care, with ‘active cases’ at 475,616 (14,243 less than the day before).

As of today, DGS numbers suggest 20,866 people have died in Portugal since the start of the pandemic with Covid-19 (not necessarily due to Covid-19). Experts have stressed that a ‘real death count’ is still a long way away as it cannot be done until the pandemic has been declared ‘over’, and even then, “there may not be the manpower available” to trawl through all the relevant death certificates.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com