The current wave of infections by SARS-CoV-2, which is expected to peak in the first half of June, will cause about 30 million hours of lost work, predicts a report by the Instituto Superior Técnico on the pandemic.

“In this sixth wave, the cost of letting the Covid-19 virus circulate freely is estimated at more than 30 million hours of work due to sick leave and isolation, which will have a relevant impact on the Gross Domestic Product in Portugal”, states the risk assessment of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST).

According to the document prepared by Henrique Oliveira, Pedro Amaral, José Rui Figueira and Ana Serro, who make up this working group coordinated by the president of IST, Rogério Colaço, the estimate is “not less than 30 million hours lost” and takes into account the prevalence of infections and their incidence in the active population, deducting the unemployment rate.

According to IST experts, this forecast is also based on the assumption that the peak of the current sixth wave of cases will be reached in the first week of June.

Sixth wave

“The possibility of a sixth wave [advanced in the last report of May 9] was clearly confirmed”, the IST document also mentions, advancing that the analysis of official data on the pandemic in Portugal “indicates a growth in numbers” of incidence, hospitalisations and mortality, but with a “less intense acceleration than in the previous week”.

The report also warns that the monitoring of the numbers of the pandemic must be done in a “strict and transparent way until the declaration of 'end of the pandemic' by the World Health Organization”.