CORONAVIRUS

Spain reports 239 new coronavirus deaths, the highest figure so far during the second wave of the epidemic

Infections continue to rise, according to Health Ministry data, with 11,193 new cases detected – 31% of them in Madrid

The intensive care unit at the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid, in April.
The intensive care unit at the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid, in April.Carlos Rosillo

The Spanish Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 239 new coronavirus victims, the highest such figure so far during the second wave of the health crisis in the country. In total, there have been 30,243 official Covid-19 deaths, according to government statistics, compared to the 30,004 that figured in the previous day’s report. But this data only includes those who died after a positive PCR test, and other indicators such as excess death surveys suggest a much higher death toll.

Not since June 19 have so many fatalities been reported by the ministry, and that date was exceptional given that it saw the inclusion of hundreds of older cases in the total after two weeks without an update. Apart from this anomaly, such a high figure has not been seen since the beginning of May, when Spain was under a state of alarm and nearly two months into its strict lockdown.

A total of 4,728 Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in the previous 24 hours – the highest figure since April

As well as the overall total, the Health Ministry also supplies a figure for the number of victims who died over the past seven days. On Wednesday, that total was 366. This statistic has been rising fast in the last few weeks and has doubled in the last 15 days. On September 2, there were 177 Covid-19-related deaths registered over the previous week.

Infections are also continuing to rise, with 11,193 added to the overall total since the crisis began, which now stands at 614,360. The latter figure now includes data from Catalonia, which was not updated on Tuesday due to “technical difficulties.” It does not, however, include information from the Murcia region, which also had the same difficulties in reporting its latest coronavirus statistics to the ministry.

Of these new cases, 4,728 were diagnosed in the previous 24 hours, with the rest corresponding to diagnoses on prior days but that have only just been reported. This is also a record – not since April has the data point been so high.

As has been the case in recent days, Madrid continues to be the region with the most new infections: 3,438. Nearly one in every three new cases corresponds to the region. With 1,854 cases diagnosed in just the previous 24 hours, Madrid is well ahead of the Basque Country, which reported 429, and Andalusia, with 327. Of the deaths in the last seven days, Madrid accounted for 124, which is a third of the total.

In Madrid, 22% of PCR tests are coming back positive, compared to the national average of 8.5%

The Madrid region is also currently suffering the greatest amount of pressure on its hospitals, with 22% of its beds occupied by coronavirus patients. The average across Spain is currently 8.5%, according to last night’s report. The regions of Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Murcia, the Basque Country and La Rioja are also all above the average. In second place on the table is Castilla-La Mancha, with 13%.

The percentage of PCR tests carried out that come back positive is also on the rise, and is at 13% according to the ministry’s figures. Madrid, with 22%, is the region with the worst rate. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that this rate needs to be kept below 5% in order to have the epidemic under control.

There are currently 9,180 coronavirus patients in hospital, which is 58 more than on Tuesday. Of these, 1,281 are in intensive care units – a rise of eight on the day before.

On Wednesday, the deputy health chief in Madrid, Antonio Zapatero, announced that there would be “selective confinements in the areas with the highest incidence” across the region. However, sources close to the regional premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, later backtracked on those comments, stating that no decision has yet been made regarding stricter measures in Madrid. For now Madrileños are unaware of what could happen in the coming days and weeks.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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