Christmas has arrived with Spain recording triple the number of Covid infections compared with a year ago. El Mundo reported on the situation the country now finds itself in.
The Covid traffic light was renewed in November and the maximum risk level went from 250 accumulated incidence cases to 500. Numbers changed, but the reality did not: Spain on December 7th exceeded 250 points, and yesterday (17th December) it exceeded 500 Covid infections.
The sixth wave has hit and already shows Covid infections are triple those of last year on these same dates. On 17th December 2020, 5,763 cases diagnosed the previous day were reported. Yesterday, that data showed 18,773.
Despite the great benefit of vaccines, the situation in hospitals is also beginning to get complicated. 6,667 hospital admissions in Spain for Covid, of which 1,306 are in the ICU. A year ago, without vaccines, they were 11,336 and 1,955.
“If this situation continues and if new measures are not adopted to tackle it, there is a high probability of once again facing care situations as serious as those experienced in other previous waves of this pandemic,” the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery warned yesterday.
Vaccination reduces severity of Covid
“We have always known that when infections increase, hospital admissions increase”, agrees Joan Carles March, professor at the Andalucian School of Public Health told El Mundo. “We will not reach the rhythm of the previous waves, because we have a much more vaccinated population and that decreases, above all, severe Covid.”
March continues, “That does not mean that there are no cases and that there are no hospital admissions. In fact, what are we seeing? That every day there are more people admitted and more people in the ER. He therefore proposes “to consider that we have to do something”.
Puentes – bridging the gap between weekends and bank holidays – always see an increase in infections. March considers tougher measures should have been in place during that period in order to save Christmas.
“We thought that with vaccination everything was solved. And vaccination is an element, but the key is not only vaccination: we must put up barriers, the more the better, to try to avoid the possibility of contagion”, advises March.
The recipe against the virus, March sums up, is the following. “The VMV that each of us would have to do: ventilation, mask, vaccination. And to that we should add other measures: third dose, vaccination of children, Covid passport, teleworking, reducing the crowds of people to see lights turned on … “.
There has been an error in approach: put too much emphasis on that we are very well. The vaccine is an extraordinary element. But to think that with that we had everything done has been an error that is causing us, at the moment, the problem of increasing infections.
Joan Caylà, spokesperson for the Spanish Epidemiology Society and president of the Tuberculosis Research Unit Foundation, makes a similar diagnosis. Caylá warns, “This must be approached differently because, if not, we will continue to repeat mistakes.”
Just two months ago, he recalls, Spain had around 40 incidence cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. The same rate that yesterday rose to 511 and exceeded the maximum risk threshold. “Another missed chance,” he laments. “Instead of going from 40 to 10, which would have been great, we went from 40 to more than 500.”