Fourth coronavirus wave continues to grow in Spain

The 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants has risen to 174.52 as it approaches the 250-threshold considered to indicate a situation of “extreme risk”

Health workers in the intensive care unit of a Central University hospital in Asturias.
Health workers in the intensive care unit of a Central University hospital in Asturias.José Luis Cereijido (EFE)

The coronavirus incidence in Spain is continuing to rise day by day. The latest report from the central Health Ministry, released on Thursday, reflects a new increase in the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The national average went from 167.97 on Wednesday to 174.52, with the data point creeping back toward the “extreme risk” limit barrier of 250 as defined by the Spanish government. The regions of Madrid, the Basque Country and Navarre, as well as the North African cities of Melilla and Ceuta, have already exceeded the 250-mark.

This rise reflects the fact that more and more coronavirus cases are being diagnosed. Yesterday, the ministry reported 9,901 infections – that’s nearly 3,000 more than the previous Thursday, when the figure was 7,041. Two weeks ago, on March 25, the number was 6,393 cases, 3,500 fewer than those reported on Thursday.

The growth in infections is sustained and is gradually gaining pace. Another data point that reflects this rise is the positivity rate of coronavirus tests: 8.18% of those carried out came back positive, according to Thursday’s report, compared to 6.84% a week ago.

The pandemic is worsening in all of Spain’s regions apart from in the Canaries and Catalonia. The biggest rise, for now, is in Andalusia, where the incidence of the virus has grown 40% since last Thursday. In the North African city of Ceuta, the figure has risen 47.77% in seven days. Navarre is the region with the highest incidence, at 379.46, followed by Madrid with 315.49. The areas with the lowest rates are Valencia (34.64), the Balearic Islands (64.27), Galicia (67.33) and Murcia (67.36).

The situation is also getting worse in the country’s intensive care units (ICUs), with 20.26% of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, compared with 20.09% the day before. This figure has been growing on a daily basis for several days now and has returned to levels similar to those seen in mid-March, when the third wave of the epidemic in Spain was subsiding. This fourth wave of the health crisis is beginning at a time when the country’s ICUs are already under a lot of pressure. The regions in the worst situation are La Rioja (39.62%), Catalonia (38.58%) and Madrid (38.56%).

During the coronavirus pandemic, high ICU occupation rates have preceded a rise in Covid-19 deaths. On Thursday, the Health Ministry reported 142 more victims, bringing the total death toll in Spain to 76,179 so far. The real figure, however, is likely to be higher given that thousands of people died in the first wave without being tested for the virus.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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