Although the general frequency of Covid cases across Spain has continued to fall, Spanish authorities have warned that it is still too soon for people to ‘drop their guard’, as a fourth wave is still possible.
Spain’s third coronavirus wave is having a huge effect on the number of deaths with the numbers continuing to rise. On Monday the Health Ministry reported a total of 909 deaths. This figure covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is the highest weekend numbers recorded since the first wave of the virus back in spring of last year.
The government also reported 47,095 new Covid infections, with the degree of positive results remaining on a downward trend: the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 people came in at 667.33, compared to 750.77 on Friday.
The director of CCAES (Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts) Fernando Simón, warned the public on Monday that they "should not let their guard down", explaining that although the number of cases continues to fall “practically all of the regions are in a situation of very high risk”.
Last Monday the Health Ministry reported a total of 762 Covid fatalities, while on Tuesday the numbers reached 724, a daily peak since the very first wave.
Unfortunately, the data looks like it will continue to grow, reflecting the high figures of new infections several weeks ago. Simón warned that “We will not see a clear and significant fall in fatalities until the weekend”.
Although the number of new infections has continued to fall for some days now, the incidence rate still continues to be very high and far from the 250 mark that was declared as ‘high risk’ by the Health Ministry.
All of the country’s territories, apart from the Canary Islands, which has a 14-day cumulative number of 157 Covid cases per 100,000 people, are showing to be well above the maximum levels that the Health Ministry considers as having the pandemic under control.
The fall in the incidence, is, however, not being reflected in Spain’s hospitals, where currently 27,739 people are being treated for Covid-19. That equates to one in every five standard hospital beds being occupied by a Covid patient. Admission rates are falling but at a very slow rate.
Fernando Simón also said on Monday night that hospital ICU admissions are falling and may have already peaked but he warned that “The data from today are slightly lower in terms of ICU occupation, but we still have huge pressure. These are very high numbers that are seeing a lot of hospitals have to reprogram their routine activity, and that’s a problem for the health system.”
The Health Ministry also claimed that 4,732 people, being treated for Covid, are in ICU’s. This means that a massive 43% of emergency care beds are being occupied by coronavirus patients.
With this bleak picture and the sureness that the number of Covid-19 deaths will sadly continue to rise in the impending days, the director of the CCAES has insisted that all covid restrictions should not be relaxed.
He also stated that “A fourth wave is possible,” he said.
“It depends how this one goes down, and the low level of transmission that we manage to achieve with this one and how it progresses in the coming weeks. If there is a fourth wave, as there will be more of the population with immunity, the probability of that wave being large and quick will fall. It is likely that there will be a wave of smaller scale and slower speed, something that will give us a margin to apply progressive control measures.”
He also warned, however, that “the new variants of the virus will play an important role in an eventual fourth wave. If the British variant occupies a space in our territory, the slower fourth wave that is expected could accelerate slightly.”
It was also confirmed by the Health Ministry that Spain has 479 cases of the more contagious variant, first identified in the UK, but admitted that “there will be many more out there”.
Two cases of the South African variant have also been found in Spain, whilst it has been reported that one other person has been infected with the more virulent Brazillian strain.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo