Will the covid certificate really serve to avoid more restrictions?

The bars, restaurants, gyms and residences of Catalonia will ask for this document from Monday. The objective: to reduce infections and avoid tougher measures. But on the table there are doubts about its effectiveness in a time of epidemiological rise

The expansion of covid-19 certificate aims to avoid tighter restrictions. Catalunya will require this document to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and residences, in principle, as of Monday. Initially it had to go into effect this Friday, but the avalanche of petitions (in the last four days they have downloaded 707,000 certificates since My Health) the web has collapsed and has pushed the Government to postpone the application of the measure temporarily at least until the start of next week.

The goal is to reach the Constitution Bridge with a measure that, in some way, reduces the risk of contagion in those spaces where it is more likely to become infected, also taking into account that all epidemiological indicators are on the rise. The effectiveness of the covid certificate, which until now was only requested in nightclubs, will set the course for the future measures adopted (or not) in view of the Christmas. All the people consulted by this newspaper discard another home confinement (such as the one who lives, for example, Austria), but they do agree in considering that, if this measure is not sufficient, it is likely that it will be necessary to return to reduce capacity, limit hours or return to telematic work.

The objective is to reach the Constitution Bridge with a measure that reduces the risk of contagion in spaces where it is more likely to be infected

“The goal is to try reduce the risk of contagion in environments where it is more possible to become infected and where there may be supercontagions. Vaccinated people can transmit, but their risk is lower “, assesses the Chief of Preventive Medicine at Hospital Clínic, Antoni Trilla. Those who do not have a covid certificate because they are not vaccinated must present a negative diagnostic test or a document that certifies having recently passed the disease. “In these environments [bares, restaurantes, gimnasios y residencias] the risk is higher because they are closed and we take off the mask, “adds the epidemiologist.” And, if this does not work, we will have to look at other things. It would be necessary to restrict: fewer hours, less capacity “.

“Adequate and proportional”

For him, the extension of the covid certificate is a “proportional and adequate measure to reduce contagion. “” It can be successful and is worth a try. It is applied in many European countries and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) “, highlights Trilla, who sees it as” difficult “for Spain to reach very harsh restrictions with such high vaccination percentage: 89% of those over 12 have the double standard (84% in Catalonia).

However, other experts doubt that the certificate will serve to stop the rapid rate of contagion Catalonia already lives, a territory that registered more than 1,200 in the last 24 hours. “I don’t know if it will be enough. It gives us no guarantees that we will stop this. The reference could be Denmark. They have a very high level of vaccination, they took this measure on November 12 and we have observed that, although they do has slowed growth, infections continue to rise slower, “he explains for his part Daniel López-Codina, researcher at the Computational Biology and Complex Systems Group (Biocomsc) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC).

This measure managed to slow down infections in Denmark, but did not stop growth

López-Codina warns that, although the incidence of the coronavirus in Spain is not as high as that of other European countries, the Pressure in Catalan hospitals and ucis is “Growing fast”. “And, at least for the next 15 days, we will continue to grow,” he says. Catalonia has 595 patients with coronavirus in hospitals this Friday, of which 131 are in ucis, according to figures from Salut.

Doubts and skepticism

Many European countries, such as France or Italy, they began to ask for the covid certificate in the restoration in summer. This meant a very high increase in vaccination in the population. In other words, the covid certificate promoted the immunization. However, one of the questions that experts ask themselves is whether it makes sense to request this certificate in a country like Spain, with the vast majority of citizens following the double standard.

“It remains to be seen if it works. My idea is that it can work, but it cannot be assured. In Catalonia there are only 15% of people over 12 years of age who have not been vaccinated. This document is much more valuable in settings where vaccinated do not exceed 60% “, says the Head of Infectious Diseases of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Benito Admiral. That is, in countries where it is necessary and even urgent control the social interaction of the unvaccinated.

Some experts believe that this document is more effective in countries where it is urgent to control the interaction of the unvaccinated

However, the immunologist and researcher at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) Matilde Cañelles He does believe that the extension of this certificate will serve to vaccinate those who have not done so yet for fear of side effects or neglect. “We need to reach the maximum percentage of vaccinated possible. And the vaccine reduces infections,” he insists. “It is about preventing the unvaccinated from finding themselves in situations where they can infect many people.”

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In addition, Admiral expresses his doubts about whether the covid certificate is viable in the smaller restaurant spaces, those that have for example only one person working. And he points out another aspect: in the business establishments and the public transport it is not necessary to present the document. “Although they can also be at risk if things are not done properly.” For this infectologist, the “most important” measure continues to be the use of mask indoors. The WHO yesterday attributed the new wave of infections to the excessive relaxation of those vaccinated.

In the midst of a rather uncertain scenario, where epidemiological indicators are rising, there is hopeful news: the third doses of the vaccine for all the over 60 years old. “Probably the most important thing right now the most important is this souvenir dose “, López-Codina highlights. Catalunya will start putting them on next week.


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