Spain has now recorded more than 50,000 official coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data released on Monday by the Health Ministry. The report showed 24,462 new infections and added 298 Covid-related fatalities to the overall death toll since Thursday, which was Christmas Eve. The total number of victims now stands at 50,122, although the real figure is likely to be much higher given the number of people who died in the first wave without having been given a diagnostic test for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a key indicator with regard to the progress of the pandemic in the country, has fallen 14 points to 246.19 since the last report was made public. Last Monday the figure was 262, above the 250-mark considered to be high risk by the Health Ministry. The Balearic Islands, Extremadura – which this weekend toughened up restrictions for New Year’s Eve celebrations – and Madrid are the regions with the worst epidemiological data right now.
The public holidays don’t allow for the evaluation of the dataFernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts
The total number of confirmed infections now stands at 1,879,413 in Spain since the start of the pandemic, according to the ministry’s figures. The past two weeks have seen a total of 115,775 confirmed infections.
Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), called for caution when interpreting the fall in the cumulative number of coronavirus cases. “While it is lower than a week ago, the public holidays don’t allow for the evaluation of the data,” he said during a press conference on Monday to present the latest report. “We could be seeing a stabilization of the trend, but we must be prudent with the interpretation. The figures for hospitalizations and ICUs are better, but we cannot drop our guard.” Simón pointed to the high number of diagnostic tests being carried out, which returned an 8.6% positivity rate in the latest report.
Ten percent of hospital beds are currently occupied by coronavirus patients, which is a total of 12,172 people
In the last week, 408 people with Covid-19 have died in Spain. Of these, 77 died in Andalusia, 35 in Aragón, 36 in Asturias, six in the Balearic Islands, 16 in the Canary Islands, seven in Cantabria, 22 in Castilla-La Mancha, 35 in Castilla y León, 27 in Catalonia, one in the North African city of Melilla, 54 in the Valencia region, 19 in Extremadura, 32 in Galicia, nine in Madrid, 15 in Murcia, 10 in Navarre, one in the Basque Country and six in La Rioja, according to a summary prepared by news agency Europa Press. Simón said on Monday about this data that “for two or three weeks we have been observing a fall in the number of deaths, although they continue to be many people. We have also observed a fall in the fatality rate.”
Ten percent of hospital beds are currently occupied by coronavirus patients, which is a total of 12,172 people. Of these, 2,022 are in intensive care units (ICUs), which currently have a 21.14% occupation rate by Covid patients. The regions with the highest pressure on their intensive care systems are Catalonia (32.32%) and the Balearics (30.11%).
The ministry data was presented while a Inter-territorial Health Committee meeting was taking place, in which the Health Ministry and Spain’s regions – which are in charge of their own healthcare systems – were analyzing the data from the pandemic, with a view to a possible toughening of coronavirus restrictions during the upcoming New Year celebrations. Also being discussed was a one-day delay on Monday of the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines, due to a logistics problem encountered by the manufacturer that affected the arrival of doses in Spain and several other European countries. The vaccination campaign in Spain began symbolically on Sunday, but is due to start being rolled out to senior home residents and their carers today.
English version by Simon Hunter.