Contagions rebound: one in four large cities already registers an increase in cases

Source: autonomous communities

* Information updated with the latest data available as of March 23

The fall of the third wave reached its bottom in Spain with an incidence of 127 cases in 14 days and the first upsurges in cases are already beginning to be detected in several communities. Infections are on the rise again in a large number of localities where a significant increase in cases has already been detected in the last two weeks and the increase in transmission already affects 46 large cities – one in four. In addition, the descent of the curve is slowed in another forty cities, including the capitals Madrid and Barcelona.

The rebound in infections is notable in towns such as Arona (+ 265% of cases in 14 days), Badajoz (+ 251%), Santa Lucía de Tirajana (+ 218%), Rincón de la Victoria (+ 177%) and Cáceres ( + 134%). The highest increases are concentrated in the Canary Islands, Catalonia, Extremadura, Euskadi and Navarra, where cases rise again in many municipalities, according to the analysis carried out by based on data from the Health Councils of 17 autonomous communities and cities. autonomous communities of Ceuta and Melilla. You can read more details about obtaining this data in the methodology.

Even so, the figures remain far from the skyrocketing incidents that had been registered at the end of January. Only 1% of the population, who reside in just over 250 municipalities, live in locations above the threshold of 500 cases. The only large city that registers these levels of transmission is Melilla.

Despite the decrease registered in recent weeks, a part of the territory reaches the change in the general trend in extreme risk levels: 10% of the population lives in municipalities that register more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, the level that the Health traffic light qualifies as extreme risk. Among them, 21 cities with more than 40,000 inhabitants. The ranking of large municipalities with more cases in two weeks is led by Melilla, Vic (Barcelona), Lleida, Santurtzi (Bizkaia) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Expanding the focus, the positive trend of the coronavirus curve is no longer the rule that characterizes most of the territory. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are already only in decline 📉 in 743 municipalities where 40% of the Spanish population lives (last week it was 67%). On the contrary, they are increasing 📈in 563 municipalities where 21% of the population lives and are in the plateau phase (they remain more or less the same as two weeks ago) in 113, where 24% live. The rest are very small municipalities where very few cases are registered – less than 5 every two weeks – or for which there is no information available – representing 14% of the Spanish population.

The following graph shows the ranking of large municipalities (with more than 40,000 inhabitants) according to the number of confirmed cases in the last 14 days in relation to their population and also how the incidence has varied in the last two weeks compared to the previous two.

This week, 27 million Spaniards – more than half the population – continue below the high risk thresholds in the pandemic, when transmission is uncontrolled. Specifically, 4,800 municipalities register less than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, the threshold that Health considers of “medium” risk.

Heterogeneous data and absence of small municipalities

The map that opens this information shows the data of total confirmed COVID-19 cases, in 14 days and the trend of infections in each municipality of the autonomous communities that have published their contagion data in each locality: practically the entire territory to With the exception of the smaller municipalities of Castilla y León, Catalonia and Galicia, which do not break down the figures for the municipalities with fewer inhabitants.

The data for each municipality show the same variable: the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus and for whom their place of residence has been identified. Most communities include the data of positives by PCR test, antigen test and some also add the cases confirmed by rapid antibody test. This medium, which has been collecting data by municipality since the end of March, calculates the trend of cases in each municipality by comparing the number of confirmed cases in the last two weeks with the infections detected in the previous two weeks.

It must be taken into account that the data from the communities are not always homogeneous with each other due to the type of tests they include, the dates on which their figures are updated or due to changes in the publication of the data in the same month. The update date of each community depends on each one of them: most keep their figures updated weekly but some are delayed when updating their figures.

In total, the figures collected add up to more than two million cases of coronavirus in which the municipality of residence of the infected person has been identified. Of the 17 autonomous regions analyzed, Madrid is the city with the most infected detected in a single municipality. However, the municipalities with the highest incidence rate (cases per 100,000 inhabitants) are small localities in which an outbreak can affect a larger proportion of the population.

Many municipalities do not appear as there is no data available and some communities do not publish the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the epidemic. It should be borne in mind that the number of cases is closely related to the ability of health authorities to detect them. That is, the more tests or analyzes performed, the more cases detected. How many confirmed cases are there in each municipality and how is the current incidence in your locality? Check it out in the following table.

Several communities initially refused to publish data by municipality to avoid the social stigmatization of small municipalities with many infected. This is the case of the Autonomous Government of La Rioja, which initially was not going to publish data by locality and now publishes it for all municipalities.

The Balearic Islands initially refused to share their data, although in the end they published it. Extremadura, under the same criteria, initially only published 8 most populated municipalities in the region. Now it publishes the figures even by local entities, villages and districts. Castilla y León is only publishing its figures for municipalities with more than 1,000 inhabitants and Castilla-La Mancha those with more than 500 inhabitants. They are not the only cases, practically half of the regions refused to publish their figures, arguing that they wanted to avoid the stigmatization of specific municipalities. Today, they all publish their data on COVID-19 cases by municipality.

Galicia has been the last to publish the figures by municipality, which has added to its COVID-19 data portal almost 6 months since the start of the epidemic. The Galician community does not publish the figures for the municipalities that have registered between 1 and 9 cases in the last 14 days. Now all the autonomies publish the figures broken down by locality on their transparency portals, open data web or official pages with the situation of COVID-19.

Precisely, these data are essential to combat an epidemic: they make it possible to detect sources of contagion and act accordingly, provide more information to local administrations and regional governments of neighboring communities and facilitate the analysis of the impact of the epidemic.

This analysis makes it possible to verify in which areas there is a higher incidence rate based on variables such as average income, percentage of the population over 65 years of age or population density. Precisely, from all administrations hundreds of statistics are published broken down by municipality: population by age, country of birth, nationality, average income, registered unemployment data, educational level or mortality rates.

Countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom or the United States publish their data on confirmed cases at the district, local authority and county level, an administrative level similar to a municipality in Spain.


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