Friday, July 1

Youth, travel and party place Sant Cugat as the city with the most infections in Spain

Finish the course. For 18-year-olds who have made the selectivity in Sant Cugat, the third city with the highest income in Spain with more than 20,000 euros per year per inhabitant, “it is almost mandatory” to go on a trip, says the mayor of the city, Mireia Ingla . Most young people choose Menorca and organize the getaway with colleagues from their institute. But on the island they meet young people from other institutes in the city because “What do you do when you are 18? Go to meet new bubbles,” says the mayor herself. The parents of the young people tried to search the videos that came from the mass festivals in Menorca to their children. Sometimes they were found, sometimes without a mask, and some came back infected.

The incidence among young people continues to skyrocket: it adds another 97 points and now reaches 911

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But not only that: on June 23 the Sant Joan festival is celebrated and two days later the town festivities start, with an Oques Grasses concert that brings together 3,000 people and five nights in a row of parties at the start of a busy summer tired and wanting to go out. Result: Sant Cugat is by far the city in Spain with the highest rate of coronavirus infections, with 1,109 infected per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days in a Catalonia that is the region with the most infections in Europe behind the Algarve and Cyprus.

In just fifteen days, Sant Cugat has multiplied its infections by ten, especially among young people, and has contributed to the incidence among young people aged 20 to 29 in the northern metropolitan health region of Barcelona of 2,424 cases per 100,000 inhabitants . By states, only Cyprus, a country of one million inhabitants, is worse off than Spain.

The mayor defends that the festival has not been a source of contagion and points to trips to Menorca as “the core” of the great outbreak, while remembering that a third of the population of the municipality is less than 30 years old. It is in the range between 16 and 29 years where the majority of positives have been registered in a city with an average age of 38.92 years, six below the Spanish 44.9. Travel, youth, major parties, relaxation of measures and also of precaution due to the boom in vaccination have been stirred in an irresistible cocktail for the delta variant, 2.5 times more contagious than the one originating from Wuhan, which has been found in this small wooded city of 90,000 inhabitants in the middle of the Collserola park, quiet but close to Barcelona, ​​a perfect place to spend the first days of summer. It contrasts with the first wave of the pandemic, which was particularly effective in poor neighborhoods where teleworking is a privilege and sharing a flat is a necessity.

Aina, who has her seven-year-old son confined because he had a positive in class, says that the last days in Sant Cugat have reminded her “of those crazy times at the university in which many holidays were chained”. He acknowledges that the City Council implemented many security measures and that the measures were complied with at the concerts, seated and wearing a mask. But outside of the organized events, it is impossible to control an entire population by first enjoying the Sant Joan festival and after one of the first major festivals that have been celebrated in Catalonia, just when the numbers of infections were improving and vaccination was flying. at high velocity.

It is not difficult to find young people who confirm the thesis of the mayor with close experiences in the streets of the city on Menorca. What it costs is to find someone who does not have an infected or confined acquaintance. Santi, for example, is a 20-year-old who has two confined cousins ​​and knows ten more friends who are. “They caught him in Menorca, where they were also boys I know from another institute,” he says. “A lot of party, a lot of party”, summarizes about the trips of his relatives. He sits at a table on a terrace with some young monitors from a summer camp, who explain that there are two positive children who have led to four confined groups. But there was not only a party in Menorca. “From the disco Teatre [en el mismo Sant Cugat] They ran videos where the security measures were not complied with, “says one of the girls, who prefers not to give the name.

The name of the room is mentioned by two other girls interviewed. Maria, one of them, is 15 years old and questions the mayor’s vision of the festival. He has just left the confinement, who has spent “watching TV and talking on the balcony with the neighbors, who were also confined”, and has eight infected acquaintances and about 20 confined, all from the main party and the Teatre and Lemon nightclubs , aim. “Now that older people are vaccinated, people relax a bit because there is no longer the risk of infecting them, and the truth is that in the old festivals there were many people without a mask, people dying with each other …”, he describes from the Plaza de la Estación de Ferrocarriles, near a sign that announces the festival at the end of June.

Dozens of young people leave the station every few minutes. The Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Catalunya trains are frequently subway trains that move thousands of people between Vallès and Barcelona every day. Many young people from Sant Cugat study in private schools in Barcelona and in the groups of young people interviewed it is common for there to be boys and girls from the capital among them, exchange and mobility difficult to see in more humble neighborhoods.

At the Sant Cugat Primary Care Center, its director Raquel Hernández acknowledges that they are “quite stressed” in the face of this fifth wave when most have already lost track of how many go, although she assures that “no visit has been deprogrammed” by the peak of infections. Attention for respiratory problems has skyrocketed from 100-150 a day to 250 and Hernández recalls that “the risk of persistent COVID” also exists among young people, who, although the majority do not suffer from serious symptoms of the disease, can develop it. more possibility there will be that they end up in a hospital or an ICU, although for now this is a rare extreme in the city. “Professionals have to take vacations and are exhausted and doubling shifts to attend to this increase in incidence,” he points out. Hernández, who calls for prudence, the use of a mask and social distances.Three of the workers at the center, although vaccinated, are confined for having tested positive.

From the consistory, the mayor asks the Government for “specific measures” for the city, since she, she says, does not have the powers to apply any restriction or extraordinary measure, beyond noting that “there is now no option to go without a mask, not even outdoors. ” Indeed, in Sant Cugat most young people use it on the street even though it is no longer mandatory. “This grows day by day,” regrets Ingla, who does not know if the peak has been reached and if the contagion curve will begin to bend in the coming days. On Monday he met with the Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, and, among the proposed measures, he hopes that a massive test can be carried out on the population to control infections even better. “The pavilion is ready in case they want to start tomorrow,” he concludes.