Speaking to the Lusa News Agency, José Artur Paiva, who belongs to the Monitoring Committee of the National Response in Intensive Care Medicine for Covid-19, highlighted that the major determinant of the increase in patients in intensive care is the increase in virus transmissibility and that how much the more transmissible the more difficult the virus is to achieve herd immunity.
“With this variant [delta], herd immunity will not be achieved at 70 percent, but with values very close to 85 percent of immunization”, he said, stressing the importance of containing the Rt (transmissibility index).
The specialist in intensive care medicine considers that the ongoing vaccine process "is being able to have great effectiveness, which is maintained with this variant [delta], namely to avoid forms of moderate or severe disease".
José Artur Paiva recalls that the average age of admissions decreased “due to the absence or a clear decrease in cases in older people”, stressing: “The average age of patients in intensive care is around 50 years, frankly lower than it was on the previous waves”.
“As we have greater vaccination coverage for people over 60 and over 50 with other diseases, and as we know that there is effectiveness of vaccines, even in relation to this variant that is becoming predominant, in fact, we have a marked decrease in severe cases. This is the great protection that the vaccine gives”, he said, noting that people are only protected if fully vaccinated.
Basically, he added, "we have a marked decrease [in intensive care admissions] in older people and even not so old, but with comorbidities."
He recalls that the virus that causes covid-19, like any virus, “will always adapt and create a way to mutate to become more transmissible”.
"They need the host's cells and the interest of the virus is not to become more aggressive and kill the host, but to become more transmissible", added the specialist, who belongs to the direction of the Intensive Medicine Specialty College of the Medical Association.