Official coronavirus deaths in Spain now exceed 30,000, with total infections at 603,167

Madrid accounts for a third of all new cases, with one in five hospital beds occupied by a Covid-19 patient

Health workers outside the entrance of La Paz hospital in Madrid.
Health workers outside the entrance of La Paz hospital in Madrid.Marta Fernández Jara (Europa Press)

Coronavirus infections continue to rise in Spain, with the Madrid region accounting for more than a third of all of those registered. That’s according to the latest report from the Health Ministry, which was published on Tuesday evening. The pressure on hospitals is also on the increase in Madrid, with one in five beds now occupied by a Covid-19 patient. The region currently has an occupancy rate of 21%, more than double the average for all of Spain, which stands at 8.5%. This indicator has risen one percentage point in just four days, having come in at 7.5% on Friday.

The situation in the Spanish capital varies greatly from hospital to hospital, with some centers already having postponed non-urgent surgical procedures. According to data published regularly by a group of doctors from 62 Madrid hospitals, the Gregorio Marañón and the Doce de Octubre have most coronavirus patients, with nearly 250 each. In total, the region currently has 3,095 Covid-19 patients admitted, of whom 359 are in intensive care units (ICUs). A third of hospitalizations in the whole of Spain – 9,752 – are in Madrid. Across the whole country, there are 1,273 patients in ICUs.

More than 300 Covid-19 victims passed away over the last seven days – the highest figure since the government began to offer this data point on May 25

In Catalonia’s hospitals, there are 1,216 coronavirus patients, which is 5% of total capacity. After Madrid, Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country have the highest pressure on their healthcare systems, all of them have 12% of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.

The latest ministry report showed 9,437 new cases detected, bringing the total since the health crisis began to 603,167. The data, however, was incomplete given that Catalonia was unable to provide its update due to what were described as “technical difficulties.”

The report also included 156 new Covid-19 fatalities compared to Monday’s figure, bringing the government’s official death toll to 30,004. This figure only includes those who died after having tested positive for the coronavirus, however, and excess death figures suggest that the real death toll is considerably higher.

Madrid has a hospital occupancy rate of 21%, more than double the average for all of Spain, which stands at 8.5%

The Health Ministry also reported last night 303 Covid-19 victims who passed away over the last seven days – the highest figure since the government began to offer this data point on May 25.

The cumulative incidence of the virus continues to rise in Spain, where it currently stands at 253.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. The country exceeded the barrier of 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on August 13, after infections began to grow on a sustained basis from the beginning of July. Regions such as Madrid far exceed this average figure, with 651.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants according to the latest ministry report. Asturias, meanwhile, is still showing low transmission rates, with just 73 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Spain worst-ranking European country in coronavirus report

Along with countries such as Bolivia, the United States and Brazil, Spain was classified in red by the medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, in a report that detailed the nations across the globe where community transmission of coronavirus is “very high.” The prestigious publication used information from the Our World in Data website to classify 91 states according to infections recorded during the month of August. The report considered transmission to be very high when rates exceeded 100 cases per million inhabitants. Spain is the 10th country in the ranking, with 118.8 new cases per million inhabitants a day during last month.

The country is also the worst in Europe according to the report, followed by Malta with 80.9 and Romania with 61.6. In France, transmission was “moderate,” with 45.2 infecitons per million inhabitants. Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are also in this category, but with lower infection rates. Italy, for example, saw 11.4 infections per million inhabitants in August.

Epidemiologist Daniel López Acuña, a former director at the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the report was “comparing apples and oranges. Not all countries track their figures the same way nor do they do the same number of PCR tests,” he continued. “To make a valid comparison you would have to adjust the rates by age and by the number of PCR tests carried out.” But he warned that “this is not to say that the situation in Spain is not serious and very worrying [...].” In his opinion, the report does not say anything more “than what we already know, and what we need to know to change the course of the handling of the pandemic in Spain.”

English version by Simon Hunter.


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