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Endemic Covid-19 Has Arrived in Portugal. This Is What It Looks Like.

With one of the world’s highest Covid-19 vaccination rates, Portugal is learning to live with the virus and being watched by other countries as a possible way forward

10/25/2021 11:30:00 AM

With one of the world’s highest Covid -19 vaccination rates, Portugal is learning to live with the virus and being watched by other countries as a possible way forward

The country has one of the world’s highest coronavirus vaccination rates. Its cautious return to normality is being closely watched by other countries as their inoculations inch higher.

Updated Oct. 24, 2021 1:43 pm ETLISBON—In this soccer-crazed capital of a soccer-obsessed nation, the stadiums are full again. Portugal, a country ravaged earlier in the year by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, now has the highest Covid-19 vaccination rate in Europe and offers a glimpse of a country trying to come to grips with what is increasingly looking like an endemic virus.

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Tens of thousands of screaming soccer fans crammed into the Estadio da Luz here Wednesday to watch hometown favorites Benfica take on Bayern Munich. They amassed on the subway to the stadium, at the entrance as officials patted them down and, after the game, at food trucks where they downed sandwiches and beer as they tried to forget the drubbing their team had just received.

The government recently lifted a 30% capacity limit at stadiums imposed to control Covid-19. But things haven’t returned to what they were: Fans need a certificate showing they are vaccinated, recently recovered from the disease or tested negative. Masks are obligatory throughout stadiums.

Close to 100% of people over the age of 50 have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Portuguese government. For those between the ages of 25 and 49 it is 95% and from 12 to 17 it is 88%. Some 89% of Portugal’s entire population of 10 million has had at least one vaccine dose, not far behind the rate in the world-leading United Arab Emirates, compared with 65% in the U.S. and 73% in the U.K., according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data.

Portugal has been averaging six deaths a day for the past month, compared with almost 300 at the peak in January. Adjusted for population, the current rate equates to about 200 in the U.S. The deaths plunged to one or two a day in May and June before rising to 20 in July. The number of new daily recorded infections and hospitalizations has been trending down since the summer. The country is now averaging about 750 new cases a day, compared with almost 13,000 in January. There are about 320 people hospitalized, down from almost 6,700 at the peak.

On Oct. 1, Portugal ditched most of its Covid-containment rules, but in many ways life in Lisbon is a throwback to the deepest days of the pandemic. Hand pumps dispensing disinfectant gel are ubiquitous and some churches still rope off seats to ensure social distancing even though it is no longer obligatory. The Covid-19 certificate is required at large events and masks are still mandatory on public transportation, in schools for students 10 and older, and for employees in shops, restaurants and bars.

Portugal dropped most of its coronavirus restrictions on Oct. 1.Masks are still mandatory on Lisbon’s subway and other public transportation.At the same time, subways are full. Lisbon’s fleet of rickshaw taxis, known by the Thai term tuk-tuk, whisk tourists along the narrow streets of the city’s old town. Nightlife pulsates in various parts of the city all week, tram lines popular with tourists skip stops because they are bursting with passengers and almost every day finds a new massive cruise ship docked at the harbor.

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Portugal’s cautious return to normality, despite a vaccination rate that is the envy of public-health officials around the world, is being watched as a possible way forward for other countries as their vaccinations inch higher and they contemplate when to ditch their remaining restrictions. The Portuguese approach contrasts with the U.K.’s, where a combination of fewer vaccinated people and almost no restrictions

has led to a surge in infectionsand a rising death rate.Soccer fans arriving at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon last week to watch Benfica play Bayern Munich.Soccer stadiums in Portugal can operate at full capacity, but spectators must show that they are vaccinated, recently recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative.

Benfica fans watching the Bayern Munich match at a food stall outside the stadium. Benfica lost 4-0.“I need tourists, otherwise I have no business, but I look at the infection numbers every day and if it goes up even a little bit I get nervous,” said Paula Marques, who runs a souvenir shop in Lisbon. “I hope the pandemic is a thing of the past here in Portugal, but to be honest I still worry a little bit about what will happen as it gets colder.”

Portugal got through the first wave of the pandemic in early 2020 relatively unscathed. But a steep rise in cases in November last year and then a savage surge in January shattered the illusion some here had that this small country tucked away in the southwest corner of Europe could escape the worst of the pandemic.

Tourists last week thronged Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré neighborhood, a nightlife hotspot.At the peak in January, an average of about 290 people were dying a day in Portugal from the virus. Adjusted for population, that equates to more than 9,500 in the U.S. The worst daily average over a week in the U.S. never topped 3,500 deaths.

Maria Mota, executive director of Lisbon’s Institute of Molecular Medicine, has one image indelibly imprinted in her memory from that period that still makes her jittery. Working late one evening at her lab, from her window she counted 52 ambulances lined up outside the emergency room of the country’s largest hospital waiting to drop off patients.

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How did Portugal convince those incredibly selfish people who think they somehow know more than the experts to get vaccinated? Maybe it just isn’t political there and people do what is right. Drivel. loudwhiteboy_ lucky The best response to any virus is to not allow government to get involved. 18,144 is a lot of death for such a tiny country. Not to mention the extreme toll on its health care system. Nobody talks about that economic cost.

It’s the same in Budapest, I was there last week and it feels like the pandemic never happened. People with no masks, clubs packed and most of the population vaccinated. Life goes on Shame the rubbish Uk haven't got the leadership and sense a small country like Portugal has isn't it ? 🤬🤬🤬🤬 Covid does kill and has killed millions. Now we come to a decision. Do we fear covid for eternity or accept we may die from it or thousands of other things each year and go back to living life.

Why not examine all of Scandinavia which is actually treating Covid as endemic? Good to see a country prospering post Covid with common sense, strong leadership and little disruption from anti vaccination groups

How soaring energy costs could hobble the covid-19 recoveryThe extent of the economic shock will depend on how central banks respond I know you'd alert me when your done with your trading acct, so you continue further in activating your trading acct Profits concealed behind inflation. Megabucks. Bonanza for your worthless clients.

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I thought Sweden tried that. I recall that the King and Prime Minister issued formal apologies for the failure. Since then they have passed laws allowing restrictions, including lockdowns. Ahh all of scandanavia? Ivermectin works Highest vaccination rate is in INDIA 🇮🇳 stop your hypocrisy We have been having around 600/800 cases daily for a 10M population. Death toll around 5/10 a day, mostly elders like always. The ration death/cases is similar from last year. This summer we had 10 times more cases and deaths than last year with no vaccine. Winter is coming.

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Temperature in Portugal has allowed lots of Ventilation. Which when added to masking is most effective non pharmacological method to stop spread as COVIDisAirborne and exhaled in infected breath. Wait until winter arrives as like Australia when temperatures drop windows close. Treating it as chronic is not a definition of endemic that is useful. Long Covid should matter . Disability from it should matter. Too many people I know lost people. Endemic has to be at a level where the consequences are something that can be lived with. Who can live with that

Interesting too see , as it’s also a seasonal virus , as there all entering winter England lifted its restrictions months ago, Portugal wasn't the first Mmmmm Other countries : PROPAGANDA ⭕ You are Just looking for à confirmation biais : MAINY OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE NO RESTRICTIONS and NO 100% vacc promising side effects free of charge for Bigpharma. Try to practice science not believing

eastofprovo Don’t say live with they got in top of it In Britain we simply don't care anymore. Life has resumed as normal for most and it's best that way

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it's called psyop 😂😂 you're literally feeding people fear-based bullshit 😂 WAKE UP PEOPLE endemic covid thenewnormal Canada let's hope we can get to this by summer 2022. CPHO_Canada JustinTrudeau our country needs a national strategy.bcgov bcpoli bced There it is, the Pandemic shifted to Industrial Disease a few months ago, as Ireland, Britain, Malaysia too recently called it.

Mom explains why she enrolled her 22-month-old in COVID-19 vaccine trial'Seeing all those people say ‘Thank you for doing this’ makes me feel like we’re doing something really important.' Really? Enrolling your toddler for an experimental vaccine trial!? I guess she's doing it for the good of all humanity! SMH! Ridiculous! She was 'so scared' they refused to go out unless nec. & were super scared by the fear campaign . has continued to wage on America along with potus yet she puts her kid in a experiment even after it was made clear that kids are among the safest on our population. Dumb How much is she getting paid?

U.S. administers nearly 413 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccinesThe United States has administered 412,856,169 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 503,521,625 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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