Immunity testing in Portugal – conducted in May and June – showed that roughly 3% of the population has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the novel strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
This means that around 300,000 people have ‘immunity’ to the virus.
It’s by no means ‘enough’ to reduce prevention practices or be less concerned about the future, but it has massively brought DOWN the lethality rate – the percentage that struck such a chord of fear in so many people.
Instead of a 3.5% chance of DYING from Covid-19, victims now face a 0.6% chance – more than the 0.1% carried by ‘regular’ flu epidemics, but nothing like as much more as people have been thinking.
Says Expresso even this percentage could have reduced further by now, as we’re talking of ‘results’ that were obvious in June.
Almost two months on now, with infection rates increasing all the time – more often than not ‘asymptomatic’ – we’re looking at some form of immunity slowly spreading through the population.
Under this ‘immunity’ banner, Expresso stresses nonetheless that “the crushing majority of Portuguese continue to be susceptible to infection, which increases the risk of an exponential increase in cases from October”. (Despite constant assertions that the virus is not weakened by the hot weather, tacit acceptance now is that it is).
But once the colder weather arrives, so too do the ‘other respiratory pathologies’ of the season – and thus health services particularly are ‘being reinforced’ – not simply in terms of personnel, but in methods of ‘prevention’/ testing.
In next door Spain- where virus spikes have seen infections increase by up to 1500 cases per day recently – serologic (immunity) testing has revealed 10 times the number of people with antibodies than authorities were previously aware of. This has reduced the lethality rate of Spain’s outbreak to 1.1% (still a great deal more ‘devastating’ than Portugal’s, and ‘worrying’ as current data suggests Spain could already be experiencing a kind of second wave). Yesterday, Norway reimposed travel restrictions on people entering the country from Spain or Andorra. The UK – which still deems Portugal ‘unsafe’ for its citizens to travel to – has nonetheless stunned its nationals by still insisting Spain can remain, at least for the time being, ‘a green list’ travel destination.
image: serologic testing at the University of Lisbon