Health will not relax the use of masks

Health will not relax the use of masks

A passenger accesses a bus protected with a mask. / Avelino Gomez

"We are up to what the experts tell us," says Minister Darías, who defends that they continue to be used in health centers, residences and public transport

The end of masks in public transport, pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes is not a matter of days. Not weeks. Health is not in the business of relaxing the measures that have been in place since last April, when the obligation to wear it indoors was lifted but maintaining it in the cases mentioned to protect the most vulnerable people. And that this summer has seen some relaxation in the use of masks on buses and subways. Not so much in pharmacies, where we have seen users without a mask waiting on the street for the apothecary to deliver the medication because they had forgotten the mask.

To questions about this matter at the press conference after the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, Minister Carolina Darias (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 56 years old), said that her department will act based on what the experts say, and these, for the moment, have not put a definitive end to the masks on the table. Of course, those who have spoken individually believe that, although there are countries in Europe where it is no longer necessary, it is better to be cautious and wait to see how the cases and incidence evolve from the fall. “In this, as in other issues, we go hand in hand with the experts,” Darías pointed out, defending the face mask as a barrier against contagion.

In this sense, the public health expert, José Martínez Olmos, underlines: "The virus is still circulating and we are seeing the mortality figures (340 deaths in the last week)". In addition, in the opinion of the specialist, the use of the mask will have an "added value" this autumn-winter when the flu season begins.

The minister admitted that we are in the final stage of the pandemic and "now there is a lot of light", and reiterated that the success of the vaccination campaign in Spain is one of the main reasons that "has allowed us to get here".

The headline did advance that starting in the fall, and with the arrival of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines adapted to the new omicron variants, a new vaccination campaign will begin in Spain against covid (the fourth dose), which will start with the over 80 years of age and people who are cared for in residences.

Hospitalizations for covid drop

The number of people hospitalized in the ICU due to covid-19 in Spain has decreased by 23% during the last week and only the Balearic Islands and La Rioja register increases in this indicator. Plant admissions, for their part, fall in all the autonomous communities and a total of 340 deaths from the pandemic have been confirmed since last Tuesday, compared to 507 the previous Tuesday. Health has reported this Tuesday of 4,603 people currently hospitalized in Spain, 1,075 less than the previous Tuesday, on August 16, when 5,138 hospitalized patients were reported. Meanwhile, this Tuesday there are 271 people in the ICU, 83 less than last Friday. The incidence among those over 60 years of age (the only one that is measured now) is 176 cases per one hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, 30% less than a week ago when it was 246.

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