April 27, 2020 by Ellis Dixon
COVID-19: What the Good Doctor Says
Coronavirus is all we can think about so it’s no wonder that loads of predictions are being made by people who have no business making them. Your crazy uncle says this whole thing is a hoax. Your next-door bathrobe-clad neighbor who is constantly out on his balcony thinks we will be living like this for at least a full year. We’re not sure anyone should be making travel plans any time soon, but that’s just our best guess. Perhaps it’s time we take some advice from a doctor working in the Portuguese health system.
We tracked down Dr. João Filipe Pinheiro, the Assitente Graduado Sénior MGF at the UCSP Lapa for his educated opinion on how this thing will play out. Here’s what he says.
“I’m somewhat proud of our SNS. Considering that we are not a wealthy country and that we have limited resources, we have until now managed to avert tragedies like those taking place in Italy, Spain, and the U.S. But it’s a little bit like [we are] skating on thin ice.
“As you must have seen in the news, we seem to have “traded” a spiked epidemiological curve for a flattened one. Thankfully, this translates to less mortality and less infected people — but a longer “danger” period.
“So this will be like a marathon, and we’re barely out of the gate. A lot will depend on people’s behavior (self-isolation, social distancing, etc.) I think that after this first wave, things will get better, and around the summer, we’ll be able to go out more or less normally.
“However, I’m also convinced that around fall and winter, there’ll be another outbreak of COVID and the seasonal flu — and this will go on more or less severely until a vaccine becomes available at around the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
“My hope is that people keep behaving, that a drug combination proves effective, and that a vaccine becomes available ASAP.
“So, stay at home. Read, write, listen to music, and watch films, cook, do some DIY, whatever.
“Once or twice a week, protect yourself and go for a walk by the river, or ride a bike if you have one. But please have lots of patience and don’t compromise on safety.”