After the peak of coronavirus cases registered at the beginning of the epidemic and the flattening of the curve, Europe is now experiencing “a resurgence” of infections. This is shown by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in its eleventh assessment of the disease, published this week. His analysis encompasses the countries of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – and the United Kingdom. After its previous diagnosis, in mid-June, the agency now identifies an escalation of positives “in many of them”, among which Spain is at the fore. The situation has led our country to take coordinated measures in all communities to try to stop the rise.
With 49,249 diagnoses in the last 14 days, Spain is well above other countries that a month and a half ago reported similar or even higher levels such as France, Romania, Germany, Poland, Italy or Portugal, according to the analysis prepared by elDiario.es from the data collected by Johns Hopkins University until August 13. The fear of a second wave throughout Europe grows because in recent days several neighboring countries have registered strong increases. Germany you have recorded your daily maximum in a hundred days and France has reported the highest figures since May. However, our country far exceeds them and has doubled the positives in the last two weeks of our French neighbor, the next with the most infections.
The intensity of the rise differs from one to the other and, in fact, in Portugal or Sweden there is even a decline, and in a dozen countries the curve remains more or less stable. As we explained, only Russia surpasses Spain in the number of infections, with more than 70,000 in these two weeks, but its curve is decreasing. In incidence of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, our country is above and registers more than 100 positives compared to its 50. Another six have higher incidence rates, but all have less than 5 million inhabitants, therefore, being populations small, any change can imply a very significant change in the notification rate.
In fact, if we compare ourselves with the surrounding territories, the difference in incidence is enormous. France has 33 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the United Kingdom 18, Germany 15 and Italy eight. Belgium is closer to the Spanish case, and in the last 14 days it has registered a rate of 72 diagnoses per 100,000 inhabitants.
The pandemic has once again put Spain in the crosshairs of Europe and more and more countries maintain some kind of restriction to travelers from our country or have imposed different types of quarantine. One of them, that of the United Kingdom, which has decreed a mandatory isolation of 14 days after returning from Spanish territory. Others, such as France or Germany, have limited themselves to recommending not visiting some regions especially affected by the pandemic, such as Aragon or Catalonia. This Friday, the German country has declared a risk zoneIn other words, it is not advisable to travel to the whole country, except for the Canary Islands, if not out of necessity.
PCRs, in the EU average
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control had not published the so-called “risk assessments” on the coronavirus since mid-June and uses data from August 2 in the latter. The rebound analyzed by European epidemiologists amounts to a 60.5% increase in the incidence rate reported in the previous 14 days compared to July 19. Six countries, reports the agency, reported an increase of 30% – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania and Spain – compared to the just opposite situation of two others, Portugal and Sweden, which reported a decrease of around the same figure.
The new study warns that the rise in cases depends largely on different factors, including the volume of tests carried out in each country and, therefore, also calls for interpreting the figures with “caution.” Right now many countries are detecting mild, asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases – according to Salvador Illa this Friday, more than 50% – and the notification systems are different from those at the beginning of the pandemic, when the diagnostic capacity was much lower and not it was tracked. The figures, therefore, are not comparable with those of March. In this sense, Luxembourg is the only country of those analyzed by the ECDC that exceeds Spain in cases per 100,000 inhabitants, with 138, but it is also the one with the highest test rate. They are followed by Denmark, Malta, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Austria, Ireland and Portugal.
The analysis indicates that all the countries that have registered increases in infections have also increased the number of tests, but even so in some the rate “remained low”; and cites Spain among them. The data used were those from the week of July 20 to 26, when our country performed 580 CRP per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the latest data from Health, from July 31 to August 6 there has been an increase and the figure has exceeded 700, more or less in the average of the EU and the United Kingdom, although far from those countries that do the most: beyond the Luxembourg data, very higher than the rest, (10,000 tests per 100,000 inhabitants), from July 20 to 26 there were several that exceeded 1,000 tests.
Along with the examination by countries, the center warns that there are “substantial variations” within each country, with regions that do not report cases in the last two weeks and others that do. Here, again, one of them is Spain, where together with Bulgaria, Croatia or Romania, there were communities that reported incidences of more than 100 diagnoses per 100,000 inhabitants, as is the case of Aragon. This territorial difference to which the ECDC refers is precisely what has happened in our country, where although there is a general increase in cases, it is some autonomies that concentrate the largest proportion: the Aragonese community and Catalonia have come to group 70 % of infections in a week and now it is more distributed with Madrid, Navarra or the Basque Country.
Outdoor activities in Spain
European epidemiologists reason that after bending the curve, the “stricter” physical distancing measures have been relaxed and, with it, the authorities “have encouraged people to spend more time outdoors” because the interiors have a higher risk of transmission than outdoors. The report slides that this could have been one of the reasons that has led the virus to spread in Spain like this, because they have allowed “multiple outdoor activities, with terraces, bars and restaurants that have opened before cinemas or other activities under ceiling”. Experts explain that many of the outbreaks in Spain, which Health figures in more than 800 active, have been associated with “outdoor activities” and, in particular, in which “young people participate in nightlife.”
Precisely to stop the escalation of positives in these areas, all the autonomous communities have unanimously agreed This Friday several measures, including the closure of discos and dance halls or the hour limit of 1 in the morning in bars, terraces and restaurants. Also the obligation to guarantee the separation of at least one and a half meters between tables or groups of tables, in which there can only be a maximum of ten people. The authorities will also prohibit smoking in public spaces when the safety distance cannot be maintained and will be strict with the prohibition of the ‘bottle’.