“With the cessation of restrictions, it is natural that the number of contacts will increase and with a greater number of contacts, the probability of having more cases is greater”, the mathematician and professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon told Lusa.
Carlos Antunes highlighted the case of Israel, which is already reaching 4,000 cases a day and was the country with the greatest vaccination coverage.
"We know that even with vaccination coverage in the order of 60% or even 70% complete, it does not guarantee that there will not be new waves", said the researcher, disagreeing with those who claim that Covid-19 is already in an endemic situation.
In his view, this situation will only be reached when the country has 85% of the population with complete vaccination.
Asked if the lifting of the restrictions was too soon, Carlos Antunes stated that, from the point of view of risk analysis, it is necessary to assume that there is risk for “both sides, economic and social, when taking such a decision.
“We took risks and we can have an economic benefit to the detriment of a more serious situation in public health, but without a great impact in terms of the hospital service”, he explained.
In this sense, society is willing to take this risk, but, he said, if the main objective was to “completely control” the epidemiological situation, it would have been “too soon to ease the measures so drastically, to end everything”.
In a more global perspective, Carlos Antunes considered that the country acted "in the right measure", because the population already has some vaccination protection that guarantees that, "despite an increase in hospitalisations, it is not in a significant number”.
"There is room for us to let the incidence increase a little more, because this translates into a lower hospital prevalence and levels that are perfectly manageable and it is on this basis that we take the risk of opening (...) but we have to assume that when it ends completely with measures to restrict activities and schedules, a situation of increased incidence may arise again”, he concluded.