HUGO DELGADO/LUSA

Over 39,000 ‘recoveries’ from Covid virus in 24-hours as DGS forced to insist its numbers are reliable

Sunday’s Covid bulletin shows that in 24-hours another 29 people in Portugal have died with Covid-19, while 39,396 have ‘recovered’ from testing positive, albeit slightly more (45,335) have taken their place, and are now faced with seven days in isolation.

The most frustrating aspect of this daily litany on SARS-CoV-2 is that even the media, that has been so ‘faithful’ in its reporting, is starting to see a comedy of errors.

Writing in Correio da Manhã today, the paper’s former editorial director Octávio Ribeiro refers to DGS health director Graça Freitas as “a character out of a black comedy that is so clumsy she causes tragedies”, which should have seen the back of her “several times” already.

“But there she continues throwing nonsense into the wind, conditioning the effectiveness of measures to combat the pandemic…”

What is it this time? Well, “now we know that numbers in hospital infirmaries and intensive care, and as a consequence, the number of deaths due to Covid are inflated by a minimum of 40%. People enter hospital with whatever pathology, test positive for Covid and then join the statistics of fear”, he says.

Virologist Pedro Simas believes the inflated numbers reach almost double 40% (click here).

And for all the hand-wringing about ‘excess death increasing’, etc., high death tolls among the elderly are a fact of every January in Portugal.

“The way the DGS reacts to the denouncement made by doctors” (that Covid numbers were inflated) “is also a pearl”, Ribeiro continues. “Between 55% and 60% of cases reported of internment last week were in respect of patients whose admission occurred due to Covid, cites Observador.

“Deconstructing the euphemism, last Friday there weren’t 2,320 patients (in hospitals) with Covid, but a maximum of 1,400.

“In ICUs there were not the communicated 152 cases, but 92. Deaths due to Covid were not 44, but 27.

“Was this inflation of numbers intentional or merely due to incompetence?” Ribeiro queries, concluding “Political decisions are based on this data, which if correct, (means) barriers on social life could have been lifted. The government that emerges from the elections today, has a duty to end this comedy”.

Thus it was faintly amusing to see that today’s bulletin, appearing mid-afternoon, was preceded by DGS insistence elsewhere in the paper that its numbers “are reliable”.

“The last few days have raised doubts about whether (Covid) deaths include people who, infected with Covid, die of other diseases”, writes CM’s Bernardo Esteves. “The DGS has guaranteed its numbers are reliable. Deaths presented in the daily bulletin correspond to those that, after analysis of the information present on the death certificate, are considered as due to Covid-19”, he cites.

But people now are wary of official assurances – and apparent obfuscation when things don’t go quite as planned.

For example, the child who died following his first dose of vaccination appears to have been suffering from myocarditis, CM has heard – but this will not be confirmed by official sources who refuse to be drawn on the matter until ‘complementary exams’ have been completed (click here).

The paper has also been told that the full list of illnesses that prompted hospitalisations this month “will not be known until March”.

Elsewhere, much has been made of “an 83% rise in infections in 0-9 year olds” – but as citizens are now well aware, these are barely relevant as those age-groups tend not to suffer any adverse consequences from infection.

Today’s bulletin, therefore, was just another ‘update of dubious relevance’: it shows that incidence and Rt is up, deaths down (no further details given on those who lost their lives), numbers recovering and those becoming infected relatively balanced: a country in other words in which SARS-CoV-2 is circulating in spite of all the measures in place, and leaving the vast majority of ‘victims’ completely unscathed.

Not being discussed but certain to grab headlines after the razzmatazz of the elections has calmed is the fragile state of the ‘rest of the health service’ – and the ‘atomic bomb’ building in terms of deaths likely from other pathologies, namely undiagnosed cancers.

In an article in Expresso headlined “One post-electoral certainty: cancer is a priority”, clinicians warn of a ‘tsunami of cases of cancer” coming which will herald “terrible mortality” in a country already ‘losing citizens’ hand over fist by dint of plummeting birthrates (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com