CORONAVIRUS

Spain reports highest cumulative number of coronavirus cases: 322.9 infections per 100,000 inhabitants

The latest report from the Health Ministry recorded 13,873 new diagnoses and added 218 victims to the overall death toll

A healthcare worker performs a PCR test in Pamplona on Tuesday.
A healthcare worker performs a PCR test in Pamplona on Tuesday.Jesús Diges / EFE

After several weeks of apparent stability, the number of coronavirus cases in Spain continues to rise. The Health Ministry’s latest report on the pandemic, which was released on Tuesday evening, showed 13,873 new confirmed cases and added 218 victims to the official death toll, which now stands at 34,210. This brings the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 322.9, a new record for that data point since the health crisis took hold in the country.

Between the end of March and April, the propagation of the virus was much greater, according to studies. But the statistics were lower than they are now: at the outset of the pandemic, only the most serious cases were being recorded, whereas now there are many mild and asymptomatic infections included in the figures. This means that these last weeks of October have the worst official data in terms of diagnoses. The number of victims, however, is far from the darkest days of the first wave, when more than 900 Covid-19-related deaths were reported in a single day.

Pressure on Spain’s health system has been rising unchecked for weeks, with 11% of Spanish hospital beds now occupied by Covid patients

If cases continue to rise, then inevitably the number of victims will too. The prelude to such fatalities, pressure on the country’s health system, has been rising unchecked for weeks now. In fact, this data point did not experience the apparent fall in cases seen during the first weeks of October, which now appears to have been a small plateau during a continuous rise. According to yesterday’s report, 11% of Spanish hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients, a percentage that doubles in terms of intensive care unit (ICU) occupation.

But the trend is by no means carved in stone. Sources from the Health Ministry admit that the spread of the virus is unpredictable, and that the huge growth of the pandemic across Europe is not exactly prompting optimism. Everything will now depend on the success, or otherwise, of the measures that more and more of Spain’s regions are putting into place in order to curb the spread of the virus.

The latest ministry report shows rising trends in all of Spain’s regions, apart from in Madrid, the only area to see a fall in cumulative incidence compared to the day before. Even the Canary Islands – the only zone in Spain with fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days – has seen a rise. On the other end of the scale, the worst-hit region right now, Navarre, exceeds a thousand cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and from tomorrow will be subject to a perimetral confinement among other social measures.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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