COVID-19

Spain’s cororonavirus incidence rate stabilizes, prompting concerns of future uptick in cases

The 14-day cumulative number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants fell to 128.97 on Monday, the smallest drop recorded since the data point started to come down on January 27

A health worker attends a Covid-19 patient in Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona.
A health worker attends a Covid-19 patient in Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona.MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI / EL PAÍS

The rate at which new coronavirus infections are falling in Spain has stabilized. That’s according to Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), who was speaking on Monday at the government’s regular press conference to report on the latest figures from the pandemic The government’s chief epidemiologist explained that for now, it is unclear in which direction the curve is heading, and didn’t rule out new upticks. The latest report from the ministry included 11,358 new confirmed cases, bringing the total in Spain since the health crisis began to 3,195,062.

While the curve continues to fall after the third wave of the epidemic, rises are already apparent in some of the country’s regions. Andalusia, the Canary Islands, Extremadura, Melilla, Navarre and La Rioja had worse figures in Monday’s report compared to Friday.

It appears that the measures that were in place have had all the effect that they could, even though they haven’t been maintained
Manuel Franco, spokesperson from the Spanish Society for Public Health and Healthcare Administration

The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, meanwhile, has now fallen below 130, coming in at 128.97 in Monday’s report. The fall compared to Friday’s figure is the lowest since the key data point started to come down, having peaked at 899.93 on January 27. To put this reduction into context, in the last seven days the indicator came down by 10.12 points; last week it fell by 20.49; and the week before that, by 50.23.

The sustained fall in the incidence across the country since the peak of the third wave is also reflected in the number of Covid-19 deaths reported over the previous seven days. In the space of a week, this indicator has fallen from 1,926 to 988. There have been 72,424 official coronavirus victims in Spain since the pandemic hit, according to the ministry’s figures. Monday’s report – which covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday – saw 166 fatalities added to the total.

In terms of pressure on the healthcare system, the percentage of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients rose slightly in Monday’s report, from 6.81% on Friday to 6.94%. In the country’s intensive care units (ICUs), meanwhile, the data continues to improve, going from 23.24% a week ago to 21.04% in Monday’s report.

The current data is proving difficult for experts who are trying to predict what will happen in the coming weeks. “It appears that the measures that were in place have had all the effect that they could, even though they haven’t been maintained,” said Manuel Franco, spokesperson from the Spanish Society for Public Health and Healthcare Administration (Sespas). The uneven rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination program across the country and doubts about increased social activity that could take place over the upcoming long weekend in some parts of Spain for Father’s Day (March 19) and Easter week (at the start of April) will influence the future of the pandemic.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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