Spain saw a drop in the number of reported Coronavirus infections over the weekend suggesting that the third wave of the pandemic has hit its peak.
Ministry figures show that the 14-day cumulative number of Coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants has seen a dramatic fall with the current number of infections standing at 417 compared to 889 two weeks ago and 667 just last week.
Although still not low enough, the number of fatalities has also fallen from those announced last weekend, with another 702 COVID-19 deaths reported. This brings Spain’s official death toll to an agonising 65,449.
The numbers of Covid-19 hospitalisations have also continued to drop, albeit extremely slowly. Still, after several weeks of declining cases, 38% of the entire country's intensive care units remain full of Covid patients with a little over 14% of hospital beds now catering for those with the virus.
According to chief epidemiologist Fernando Simón (pictured), nursing homes for the first time since the pandemic gripped Spain, have lower infection rates than those over the age of 65 who live at home.
Simón said, “This is important because we’ve always seen higher infection rates in nursing homes.”
This seems to be largely down to Spain’s vaccination campaign, which put care home residents and workers at the top of their vaccination list.
Health Ministry data indicates that 2.5 million vaccinations have now been administered across the country with stats showing that one person in every 44 has received the required two doses. Of those who have received the two vaccines, almost all of them either live or work in a nursing home or are frontline healthcare workers.
Simón also added that “Since the second week after we started vaccinating, we’ve noticed a much faster drop-off in contagion rates in nursing homes than other groups. Our hypothesis is that this is due to the vaccine, but other factors could also be contributing.”
As the vaccination campaign continues, Spain, this week will begin vaccinating the over 80-year-olds who are not living in a nursing home.
At the weekend the Health Ministry reported that infections were dropping across Spain, with 30,251 new infections - the lowest weekend figures since the end of December.
To put that into perspective, the total for the previous weekend was over 47,000 and the numbers are far lower than those reported in the latter part of January.
However, Simón said that Spain still has one of Europe’s highest disease rates. “We are still under a high extreme risk - in terms of colours, we’re dark red. We still need to be careful,” he warned.
Image Credit: La Moncloa Pool
March 19, 2021