Official data published by Spain’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday shows that the country’s incidence rate has fallen for the first time since November.
The 14-day incidence rate fell 91 points from a high of 3,397 cases per 100,000 to 3,306 suggesting that the recent surge in infections due to the Omicron variant is beginning to slow.
This coincides with Spanish experts predictions that the sixth wave would most likely peak around mid-January.
The 7-day incidence rate fell even more sharply, down from 1,657 to 1,522 cases per 100,000.
Thanks to the efforts of Spain’s army of healthcare professionals and the success of the vaccination campaign which has seen 90.5% of the population fully vaccinated, hospital admissions have also stabilised, remaining well below the numbers seen during earlier waves of the pandemic.
Spanish hospitals have been placed under considerable pressure during the pandemic and recent weeks with the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant.
However, there are signs that admissions are now close to their peak. Tuesday's figures show that there are currently 18,918 people requiring hospital treatment for Covid, just a touch more than Monday’s figure of 18,821.
The number of people requiring intensive care has also stabilised showing that there are now 2,243 people in ICU compared to 2,251 the previous day. Currently, Covid patients are occupying 23.69% of ICU beds, slightly less than the previous day’s figure of 23.83%.
Despite the encouraging numbers, Spain’s healthcare professionals have warned that the country is still not out of the woods and that the situation could still get worse. It is also likely that the number of hospital admissions will continue to rise a little once the anticipated peak number of infections has been established.
Furthermore, they stress that the published figures are never completely accurate given that many people are now using home antigen kits to confirm whether they are infected or not. In many cases, these numbers are not reported to the health authorities and hence do not help to reflect the true spread of the virus up and down the country.
What’s more, the accuracy of the official statistics is also skewed due to the ways in which each Spanish region collects their regional data. This can mean that there are delays in updating the national figures.
Because of these reporting issues, the daily updates as reported by the country’s Health Ministry can only ever be an approximation as to the overall trend.