MADRID – In three Spanish regions, the virus incidence has risen to over 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The newspaper NIUS-Diario wonders whether it is necessary to take measures.
It concerns the northern Spanish regions of Asturias, Galicia, and Navarre. They have more than 1,100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. The joy of the end of the mask obligation has lasted less than two days in a large part of Spanish households. Some autonomous communities are starting to back down and recommend that residents continue to wear face masks in indoor areas to reverse the rising trend in infections.
On Thursday, Asturias and Galicia chose to continue to wear masks in indoor areas. On Friday, Cantabria joined in and, furthermore, Andalucia had previously recommended it.
Incidence above 500 among people over 60
The Ministry of Health considers the acute phase of the pandemic to be over but emphasises that Covid-19 will continue. And not only that, in some regions the number of infections is increasing again. In fact, according to Friday’s health data, the incidence in people over the age of 60 is 555.47 cases per 100,000 population in the past 14 days. The average in Spain for this indicator is at the ‘medium risk’ level but has risen 50 points since Tuesday.
Available figures indicate an increase in infections
General practitioners had already announced a growth among the over-60s. Asturias, Galicia and Navarre are now above 1,100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. And not only the incidence is growing. The number of covid patients admitted and the number of reported deaths in the past seven days also increased by 203.
New IC admissions up
What did fall was ICU admissions, although the number of new ICU admissions per 100,000 inhabitants rose in seven days.
‘Unrealistic feeling that pandemic is over’
The ministry’s charts leave no room for doubt. There is a resurgence of infections in virtually all autonomous communities. This revival has been mixed with “an unrealistic feeling that the pandemic has ended,” according to a spokesman for the Spanish Association of General Practitioners, Lorenzo Armenteros.
According to Joan Cavlá, a member of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, the epidemiological situation is deteriorating, making the measures proposed by Asturias “logical”. This region recommends wearing the mask again, reintroducing diagnostic tests and quarantines.
“People have relaxed”
The expert suspects that the increased incidence may be a result of the interaction during Semana Santa and the announcement that the mask would no longer be mandatory afterward. “People have relaxed”. In addition, mild and asymptomatic cases are no longer isolated. “It has been shown that this strategy has not been good,” states Caylá. Therefore, he thinks it is good that Asturias does justice. “You have to be very quick to implement the measures and it would be very good if other autonomous communities followed the Asturian example.”
Recommendation as a necessity, not as a suggestion
Caylá agrees with Joan Carles March, a professor at the Andalucian School of Public Health. He thinks it’s a mistake to have already deleted the incidence data, except for people older than 60 years. “We have to do as Asturias (…), especially at a time when we are practically without measures,” says March. At a time when the mandatory nature of face masks can no longer be restored, the specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health is committed to promoting other measures. He also calls for ventilation and improving the air quality in indoor areas to minimize the number of infections.
In addition, March adds, messages about this need to be reinforced so that people interpret the recommendation as a necessity, not a suggestion.
Insist on the third dose of the vaccine
Asturias already wants to vaccinate people over 80 with a fourth dose of the vaccine. Both Caylá and March are in favour of this, especially as the incidence increases among the elderly. However, they point out that many people have not yet had the third dose. According to Caylá, “only 52% of the Spanish population has the booster vaccine”. According to him, the percentage of immunised people must therefore increase.
“We obviously don’t have it under control”
In any case, Caylá says, the message must be underlined that the pandemic is continuing and that hard numbers show this. On Tuesday, 187 deaths were reported from Covid in the past seven days. On Friday, there were 203. “After so much time in the pandemic, it’s unbelievable that we continue to have this number of deaths, it’s clear we do not have it under control,” said the epidemiologist.
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