Spain has broken a daily record of cases for the second consecutive day. The autonomous communities have added 60,041 positives in 24 hours, an unprecedented number so far, although the number is difficult to compare with that of the first wave, when the detection capacity of the health system was much lower. These numbers leave a long way, yes, those registered at the peak of the third wave, in January 2021.
The high advance of vaccination, however, keeps the numbers of hospitalizations and mortality well below those of previous waves. “We all feel the terror of returning to the situation of March 2020, but we are not in March or Christmas 2020. Spaniards have been massively vaccinated,” said Pedro Sánchez this Wednesday when reporting the incidence data in a press conference after the Conference of Presidents.
The explosive rise of this new wave, driven by the omicron variant, occurs a few days before Christmas, a period that triggered infections last year due to the greater mobility of the population between regions and indoor encounters. Sánchez has announced, after meeting with the regional presidents, the return of outdoor masks, along with other measures to try to stop this epidemiological rebound.
Spain has also registered a new increase in its 14-day incidence of coronavirus, which stands at 784 cases per 100,000 inhabitants this Wednesday. This is a jump of 88.62 points compared to Tuesday and leaves this indicator above the peak recorded in the fifth wave of the pandemic, in midsummer, with the advance of delta and a much lower percentage of vaccination.
The incidence is unevenly distributed depending on the age group, especially those under 40 years of age. The group from 20 to 29 registers 1,180 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days; that of 30 to 39, 1,029 cases; and those under 11 years of age, the last group to join the vaccination campaign, is in 957 cases.
In contrast, the groups that have already begun to receive the booster dose of the vaccine, those over 40 years of age, move in much lower incidences. Those over 80, for example, count 209 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 254 in the group from 70 to 79.
The Health report also shows 50 new deaths from or with coronavirus, compared to 94 registered on Tuesday. The global count of deaths from COVID since the start of the health crisis thus amounts to 88,937.
Regarding hospitalizations, 6.14% of general beds are currently occupied with COVID patients, as well as 15.77% of ICUs. In the third wave of the pandemic, the percentage of occupancy in ICUs reached over 35% at the national level and some communities recorded data above 60%. Regarding the occupation of conventional beds, Spain registered numbers above 20%.
85% of those over 70 have the booster dose
More than 85% of people over 70 years of age already have the booster dose of the COVID vaccine, more than 5.8 million people. In addition, 64.1% of people between 60 and 69 years old have also received this memory. After the authorization of the Ministry of Health last week, those over 40 have also begun to receive this vaccine booster. 12% of those between 40 and 49, as well as 17.7% of people between 50 and 59 have received this additional injection.
In general, the autonomous communities have administered 84.5 million doses since the start of the vaccination campaign, in December 2020. With this, Spain has already vaccinated 81.5% of its population with at least the first dose of some of the antidotes and 79.7% have the complete pattern.
The communities have also begun to vaccinate minors between the ages of 5 and 11 after authorization from the health authorities. 17.8% of this group already have at least the first dose of the special preparation that makes up this pediatric vaccine, about 597,000 minors.
Sanchez will impose the mandatory mask outdoors
The mandatory outdoor mask returns six months later. Pedro Sánchez has transferred to the regional presidents that the Government will approve a decree law in an extraordinary Council of Ministers this Thursday to impose again that measure that five of them had proposed before the advance of the omnicron variant.
This has been communicated to him at the start of the conference of presidents called last Saturday to study “new measures” with which to fight against the sixth wave in the face of the exponential increase in infections that has led to the overload of primary care. The reinforcement of health services is one of the objectives that, on a global basis, the Executive will implement while specific restrictions remain, as up to now, in the hands of the autonomous communities.