CORONAVIRUS

Third coronavirus wave in Spain continues to ease, with incidence only rising in four territories

Pressure on hospitals also appears to be falling, but at this rate it would still take weeks before indicators were at acceptable levels

A nurse carrying out a PCR test in Central University hospital in Asturias.
A nurse carrying out a PCR test in Central University hospital in Asturias.Jorge Peteiro / Europa Press

The third wave of the coronavirus in Spain is slowly starting to retreat. The five basic indicators – new infections, the 14-day cumulative number of cases, hospital bed occupation, intensive care unit (ICU) occupation and deaths – were all down in the latest Health Ministry report, which was released on Wednesday.

The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, for example, came in at 815.82, compared to a new high of 899.93 a week ago. That means a decrease of 84 points in seven days. By territory, in the 24 hours previous to the latest report the incidence only rose in Aragón, Asturias, the city of Ceuta in North Africa and the Basque Country. Compared to a week ago, these four areas plus the North African city of Melilla and Galicia are worse than they were a week ago when the parameter hit a high.

In the last seven days, 3,076 deaths have been recorded, the highest since April of last year

The fall in this indicator is speeding up, as is normal when the curve begins to change trend. But, as was the case during the second wave in the autumn, there is no guarantee of where it will end up. At the start of December, the incidence began to rise when it fell below the 200-level (it was at 188.72 on December 10). But it never reached values that could be considered acceptable. At the current rate, two months would be needed to get the figure to the 50 or 25 that would be considered acceptable.

In terms of new cases, 31,596 were reported on Wednesday, far from the high of 44,357 on January 21. There have now been 2,883,465 confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain since the pandemic began.

On Wednesday, a total of 567 Covid-19 deaths were added to the overall total. The day before there was a new record high since the first wave of 724. The death toll in Spain from the coronavirus now stands at 60,370. But this indicator is not reflecting a clear trend, compared to new cases or the 14-day incidence. If January was a black month for Covid fatalities, February has started even worse. In the last seven days, 3,076 deaths have been recorded, the highest since April of last year during the first wave.

After a rise on Monday, the occupation rate in hospitals by Covid patients continues to fall, and is now just below 24%. Only the Valencia region is above 35%. The percentage of ICU beds occupied by Covid patients has also, for now, plateaued. This Wednesday the figure came in at 44.44%, compared to a new high on Monday of 45.30%. Melilla and La Rioja continue to be above 70%, while Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Valencia and Madrid are above 50%. At this rate, it would still take weeks before these indicators were at acceptable levels.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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