Spain's minister of health, Carolina Darias has given the country cause for optimism in the face of an ever-increasing number of Covid infections saying that there is evidence that the sixth wave appears to be slowing down.
The minister pointed out that despite a record rise in the reported number of infections, the number of people that are becoming seriously ill from the virus is lower than that seen during the third wave of the pandemic.
However, the remarks came despite the latest ministry data which was published on Thursday, January 12, showing that a further 125 Spanish citizens had lost their lives to the virus bringing the total to 90,508.
In a press conference on Wednesday Darias said that she wanted the sixth wave to be the last in which the country uses the current indicators to assess the situation in Spain. Instead, the Spanish government wants to implement a new ‘sentinel’ monitoring system which is based on a similar approach used to track influenza cases.
Darias told reporters that due to the largely vaccinated population and variants such as Omicron which are considered to be less severe than other strains, it would be necessary to evaluate the new Covid monitoring system and treat the disease as an endemic rather than a pandemic moving forward.
Infections continue to rise
On Wednesday, figures from the country's Ministry of Health showed that there had been 179,125 new daily cases registered.
This is the largest number of daily cases recorded and eclipses the previous high of 161,688 which was recorded on December 30.
Meanwhile, the 14-day cumulative incidence rate increased another 86 points, pushing it to a high of 3,128 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The latest numbers mean that 7,771,367 people in Spain have been infected with Covid since the pandemic began.
At a regional level, Andalucia has the lowest 14-day incidence rate at this time with 1,527 cases per 100,000. This is less than half the national figure.
There are currently four regions with infection rates far exceeding the national average which are Navarra (7,156), País Vasco (6,613), Aragón (6,002) and Castilla y León (4,469).
Despite the health minister's optimism, the number of hospitalisations continues to soar with 17,028 people requiring hospital treatment in the past 24 hours.
In addition, the country's intensive care units have also come under increasing pressure due to the recent Omicron variant with 2,228 patients currently taking up ICU beds.
13.71% of all hospital beds are now being taken up with Covid patients along with 23.77% of ICU beds.
Spain continues to be one of the world's leading countries in terms of the number of citizens that have now been vaccinated.
Wednesday's official figures show that 90.5% of the population has now been fully vaccinated against Covid, meaning more than 38 million people have now had their full quota.
The booster jab was also recently rolled out with those in their 40s currently in line to receive the shot. The government has said that it is studying the possibility of extending this to cover everyone over the age of 18. The decision on this is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
To date, almost 16 million people have received the third booster dose.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa
September 20, 2023