Patients being treated at the ICU department at Porto’s Hospital de São João on October 26. Photo: ESTELA SILVA/LUSA

Portugal registers over three Covid deaths every hour

Since the beginning of this month Portugal has been registering an average of 3.4 deaths from Covid-19 every hour.

This is one of the dismal headlines today as Sunday’s figures bring more ‘bad news’ in terms of deaths – a new record: 98 in the last 24-hour period.

Says Jornal de Notícias, the ‘deceleration’ in terms of numbers of new cases “has not yet had an impact on lethality, or on numbers in hospitals”.

In the last 24-hours, along with the record death toll, there have been more people admitted to hospital, as well as those requiring intensive care.

The ‘rate of lethality’ of the virus is now pegged at 1.6%, while deaths during the last 13 days correspond to 19% of the total since the start of the pandemic.

Looking back at the last month’s data, the number of new cases did dip for a three week period from the middle of November, but the country is back reporting ‘higher’ numbers again: 4,044 cases in the last 24-hours, admittedly slight down on the day before, but not by much.

Media outlets have started ‘wondering out loud’ if next week’s Council of Ministers will be looking back at the measures outlined for Christmas earlier this month, and seriously considering if “the hand brake” prime minister António Costa warned might have to be pulled does indeed need pulling.

Says JN, “this is what Germany did (with an incidence lower than ours) after registering 20,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours. Merkel’s brake closed everything, from schools to commerce, allowing just pharmacies, supermarkets and banks to stay open”.

As things stand, the average death count this month has been 85 people per day. In JN’s words: it is “breaking records with every week that goes by”.

This is not a dilemma facing Portugal alone. Every single country in Europe seems to be up against new pressure with the so-called ‘second-wave’ of the virus: Holland for example – which registered 10.000 new cases in the last 24 hours . has seen its government meet today to decide tougher measures, while Sweden (which faced the pandemic without shutting its economy down) is facing problems that are so complicated that healthcare workers are said to be resigning “in dangerous numbers”. Italy too has ‘overtaken’ the UK in terms of Covid deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, 348,744 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, of which 271,322 have recovered and 5,559 have died (predominantly all elderly victims with compound morbidities). There are currently 71.863 active cases, which is 1,077 more than totals on Saturday.

As to the latest deaths, the north registered the most (43), followed by Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo (30), the central region (18), Alentejo (4) and Algarve (1). The autonomous region of Madeira also registered two Covid deaths in the last 24 hours. The Azores remains the only region where there have still been no deaths from Covid.

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