Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus among unvaccinated young people, hospital admissions in Spain increased by almost 10% in one week. The average incidence in Spain rose from 154 on Friday to 204 on Monday.
With these figures it can be said the fifth epidemiological wave has reached Spanish hospitals. In the past ten days, the number of registered infections continued to increase. The incidence among people in their twenties is now 640 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is 191 more than last Friday.
Despite the fact consequences of Covid-19 for young people are generally less severe, the number of hospital admissions rose last Monday to 2,723. That is 228 more than a week earlier. 644 covid patients are in intensive care, which is 28 more than last Monday.
It is still unclear whether the new hospital admissions mainly concern young people or older people who have been infected through them. It is clear, however, that the number of infections is not only increasing among young people. Despite the fact most adults have been vaccinated, there is a percentage in whom the immunological response does not occur or occurs insufficiently. According to research by the Instituto Carlos III, the vaccination campaign prevents not 100%, but 88% of hospital admissions.
Citizens in their sixties still vulnerable
To the remaining 12% of vulnerable people must be added the people in their sixties who have not received the full vaccination. Not even half this age group is fully vaccinated. That is because most received the AstraZeneca vaccine. It can take 10 to 12 weeks to get the second shot.
There is great uncertainty about how this fifth wave will develop. What will a new epidemiological wave do to a population that is largely vaccinated? Apart from the increase in hospital admissions, the pressure on healthcare remains limited for the time being. Now 2.26% of hospital beds in Spain are used for covid care. In IC departments it is 6.73%. Director Fernando Simón of the corona crisis center calls these percentages ‘acceptable’ and the margins for other care are also wide enough.
Great pressure on primary care
The main concern is the increasing pressure on primary care and the uncertainty regarding the arrival of new virus variants. According to Simón, regions still have sufficient opportunities to take measures again. Simón does not see making face masks mandatory again, because they still have to be worn in risk situations anyway.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, more infections have been registered so far in 2021 than in all of 2020. Then there were 1,928,265 between February and the end of December. This year 1,938,210 infections have already been registered. It should be borne in mind that at the start of the pandemic, by far the majority of cases of infection were not registered. Therefore,the actual number of infections in 2020 is in all likelihood higher than in 2021.