Once a trend stabilizes, the goal is to find out when it can change again. The rest are redundancies. In that sense, the first thing to say about the evolution of the pandemic in Spain is that the data is still good. The accumulated incidence in 14 days drops to 252.19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, something that we had not seen since December 23, just two months ago.
The incidence at 7 days is placed at 95.63 (the lowest figure since December 14) and the number of hospitalized falls to 15,208 (which brings us back to January 8). It has taken us a long time to be as we are and in these almost two months that we have been in 2021, 16,799 deaths have been reported with the Covid clinic, so everything that brings us closer to the end of the nightmare will be welcome.
The problem is that, sooner or later, if we continue with the rhythm that we have seen in the September and October rallies, this descent will slow down and we will enter a dangerous plateau. They are the consequences of not opting for a strategy of zero contagion but of coexistence with the virus.
In some communities, it already seems that we can see that this downward trend is beginning to end, although it is still too early to affirm it forcefully. Navarra, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Madrid and especially Catalonia seem to have stopped their rate of decline in transmission and they run the risk of staying with a base above 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, which would again touch the alert criteria and from which they run the risk of rising again.
We have been warning for a long time of a possible fourth wave for mid-March and for now This chronology suits us if the decline already stagnates in the last week of February. What is not clear is what effects it will have. The virologist Margarita del Val recently stated that it would be as serious as the third, but there are many factors that invite us to think that it will not be the case.
Less cold than in December-January, less social activity and more people vaccinated. The situation is much more similar to what we experienced in autumn, although we hope that we do not even have to go through that or at least it is restricted to very few autonomous communities.
The worrying thing is that just two of the five mentioned autonomous communities -Madrid and Catalonia- continue to have a serious basic hospital problemIn other words, they cannot afford a rebound under any circumstances as long as their Covid occupations in the ICU exceed 40% of the total number of deployable beds. So let’s focus on these two regions to see how alarming the situation is.
Madrid continues to be the community – I do not count the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla – with higher incidence at 7 and 14 days and with a higher percentage of occupancy over total beds and critics, according to data from the Ministry of Health. If your situation is comparatively bad, your tendency, as we said, is not to rave about.
Even before the effects of the delay of the curfew until eleven o’clock at night are noticed -which, basically, is an invitation to people to meet again for dinner without being overwhelmed with the time-, Madrid presents an incidence accumulated in fourteen days of 383.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a seven-day incidence of 156.5. A week ago, this last indicator was at 217.7; equivalent to a decrease of 28.11% compared to the 34.5% national.
With the current data, Madrid will be next week with a 14-day incidence below 300, but if you want to enter a certain security zone, you have to go down faster and that is not the trend that we have been observing: last Monday, the weekly incidence fell to 34.2%.
If it stays at around 25% for the next two weeks, we would reach the second week of March with about 88 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which, being high, would better prepare us for a possible rebound. Anything above 100 (and therefore 200 in the 14-day AI) will be dangerous with 46.88% of ICU beds occupied with Covid cases.
Catalonia is, in a way, in the opposite situation: part of a better situation but the stalemate is much clearer. Compared to the almost 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants every 14 days in Madrid, Catalonia “only” presents 242.98 cases (293.89 according to the consolidated data of the Generalitat), which are 105 in seven days (131.54 consolidated).
In other words, the region presided over by Pere Aragonès, is already touching the valley to which Madrid aspires … but its trend is much worse: positivity has risen to 5.99%, a figure that is not crazy in itself. but is one point higher than last Friday and six tenths higher than last Monday. Normally, positivity is the first indicator that indicates that something is wrong, and the next is the aforementioned 7-day cumulative incidence, which rises to figures from last Tuesday.
The problem we have with Catalonia is that the data that is passed on to the Ministry is not entirely reliable as it includes the days that are not yet consolidated. Much easier is to trust your own reports. In this sense, the figures managed by the Generalitat point to aa decrease of less than 1% daily in consolidated cases when last week we were above 5%. This is obviously a bad sign, although it can be circumstantial, of course. Let’s say that, as with Madrid, we are concerned.
We know that many tests are being done and that, With an agile vaccination campaign for populations at risk, we will be able to delay the plateau for longer and limit it to age groups that are likely to pass the virus with less need for hospitalization., but you have to be vigilant. The next few days will be key to knowing if we are facing a change in trend or if it is simply a statistical artifact.
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