Spanish Covid-19 deaths prompt concern for 4th wave

by Lorraine Williamson
Covid-19 deaths increase

Today´s coronavirus report from The Spanish Health Ministry shows an additional 633 Covid-19 deaths.

This figure takes the weekend into account and relates to Thursday until Monday. However, this still shows an increase in figures following the last two weekends when they were 166 and 298.

The total number of Covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began sits at 73,543 as recorded by worldometers. According to El Pais, the seven-day figure for fatalities offers a more accurate look at the trend. This shows it is clear the data point is worsening. On Monday it came in at 1,119, when a week ago it was 988.

14-day cumulative increase

The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants has also risen, in this case to 128.71. This figure has been on the rise for five days now, although due to the holiday on Friday and the weekend this has only been reflected in three reports. The rise seen on Monday compared to Thursday is only 0.54 points. This could mean one of two things;

  • that the curve has flattened and could fall once more, as the vaccination campaign takes effect and people continue to observe restrictions
  • or the feared fourth wave could be nearing.

The Health Ministry reports the total number of positive cases in Spain is 3,228,803. This includes 16,741 new cases which were added to the figures yesterday. Furthermore, over the last seven days the number of cases was at it´s lowest during this third wave. The week previous was slightly higher at 34,092.

Casa Las Dunas Spain

Plateau

As Spain does not report the numbers on holidays or over weekends, figures on a Monday are not always an accurate reflection.  However, what it does appear to show, as reported by El Pais is one of a plateau. But there is another data point to consider: the cumulative incidence over seven days, which has also worsened – going from 61.47 on Thursday, to 62.53 on Monday. This parameter, which measures the most recent progress of the pandemic, would suggest that there will be no more major falls in cases for now.

“On the brink of a fourth wave”

With this situation, of three reports in a row with indicators on the rise but by very small amounts, there is no epidemiological manual that allows for predictions to be made about the future. That’s according to Elena Vanessa Martínez, the president of the Spanish Epidemiological Society (SEE). She says, “We could be on the brink of a fourth wave, but that will depend on what we do. My concern is that I have the sensation that we are seeing the same messages that we did at Christmas, with the result that we saw then,” she added.  But “we still have time to avoid it,” she argues.

However, with the continuation of the vaccine strategy, most of the most vulnerable group have been vaccinated. According to surveys around five million people have had the virus, which will also make its spread more difficult. But there is still a problem with young people. “The ones who go out the most are not vaccinated,” Martínez says referring to this group. “What’s more, we know that they have a milder illness, but also that they acquire lower immunity,” she continues. “It has been seen that protection is greater the more serious the infection.”

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control publishes data on a weekly basis each Thursday about the daily number of new reported COVID-19 cases and deaths.

 

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