CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s coronavirus incidence rate falls by more than half in a month

According to the latest report by the Health Ministry, 9,331 new cases were reported and 273 deaths added to the official toll, most of which were recorded in Andalusia and Catalonia

People wearing face masks in Logroño in La Rioja, one of the regions hardest hit by the second wave.
People wearing face masks in Logroño in La Rioja, one of the regions hardest hit by the second wave.RAQUEL MANZANARES / EFE

The Spanish Health Ministry considers that a region is at “extreme risk” from the coronavirus when the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants exceeds 250. According to the ministry’s latest report, released on Wednesday evening, the national incidence rate in Spain now stands at 251.61. This is less than half of what it was a month ago, when it reached 521 on November 2. Just days later, on November 9, Spain recorded its highest incidence rate since the beginning of the pandemic: 529 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

With the exception of Castilla y León, La Rioja and the North African exclave city of Melilla, all of Spain’s regions have an incidence rate below 400. What’s more, this number is falling across all regions in the Spanish mainland. Only the Canary Islands, the region with the best epidemiological situation in Spain, recorded a slight rise, with the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants now at 80. In the Balearic Islands, the figure has remained stable at 80 cases.

Pressure on hospitals continues to ease which should lead to a progressive fall in the number of Covid-19 related deaths

The incidence rate is the most accurate indicator to measure the evolution of the pandemic – since it is a cumulative figure taken over several days it fluctuates less than the number of new daily cases, providing a more stable picture of the situation. But there was also good news with respect to new diagnoses. According to the latest report, the Health Ministry recorded 9,331 cases on Wednesday, the second-lowest number since October 13. Although this is up from Tuesday’s figure of 8,257, it confirms that new infections have fallen below 10,000.

The number of Covid-19-related deaths continues to fluctuate. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry added 273 fatalities to the official toll, a significant fall from Tuesday, when 442 victims were recorded. Tuesday’s figure was one of the highest recorded in Spain’s second wave, while the number reported on Wednesday was the lowest in nearly two weeks.

The southern region of Andalusia recorded the highest number of Covid-19-related deaths (85), followed by Catalonia (64) and Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia, which both reported 24. The official death toll since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 45,784, although the real figure is likely to be much higher given that thousands of people died without being diagnosed during the first wave, meaning they were not included in the official count.

Pressure on hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) also continues to ease. According to the latest report, coronavirus patients now occupy 25.66% of ICU beds, down from 26.3% on Tuesday. The occupation rate of hospital beds also fell, dropping from 11.52% on Tuesday to 10.96%. In principle, this positive trend should lead to a progressive fall in the number of deaths. The lower the pressure on ICUs, the lower the number of seriously ill patients, which makes deaths from Covid-19 less likely. The positivity rate, i.e. the percentage of tests that come back positive out of the total, also fell to 8.67%.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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