September 20, 2020

The Bank of Spain calls for “drastically increasing the detection and tracking capacity” of coronavirus cases

The Bank of Spain claims to “drastically increase the capacity to detect and track” coronavirus cases “in light of the socioeconomic costs of the short-term containment measures” that were adopted during the state of alarm to stop the pandemic . The body’s recommendation is contained in a document on “Containment measures, employment evolution and spread of Covid-19 in Spanish municipalities” that the entity published this Tuesday.

The study authors argue that “from a prospective point of view, and in light of the socioeconomic costs of containment measures in the short term, it would be advisable to drastically increase the detection and tracing capacity. The exhaustive search for cases and Tracing their social interactions would make it possible to isolate the diagnosed cases and their contacts, which, in turn, would facilitate the immediate containment of eventual local outbreaks. ” The agency emphasizes that “the monthly cost of implementing this strategy worldwide would be less than the economic losses that the pandemic could cause in less than a week.”

“The experience of countries such as Germany, South Korea and Taiwan confirms the possibilities of success of this strategy. These countries have carried out massive diagnostic tests on the population, and the pandemic has evolved relatively more favorably without the need to impose measures of confinement as extreme as in Spain or Italy “.

The document adds that “although this could be the fundamental element of a containment strategy, other complementary measures have revealed their effectiveness in containing Covid-19. For example, contacts between social groups of different ages can play a fundamental role on the spread of the coronavirus. ”

“In this sense, special attention and the prevention of interactions with the population groups of advanced ages could mitigate the health consequences of an eventual outbreak, which would alleviate pressure on the health system and avoid the economic costs associated with the measures of confinement “.

Impact in April

The document exploits information at the municipal level to quantify the short-term impact on employment and on the containment of the pandemic that the confinement and economic hibernation measures applied during the state of alarm, as of March 14, had. To do this, it relates the weight of non-essential activities in each municipality with the evolution of Social Security affiliation and with the new cases of coronary disease detected throughout the month of April.

“The results suggest that those municipalities most affected by the cessation of non-essential activities would have suffered greater job losses, but, at the same time, would have experienced a less virulent spread of the pandemic during the month of April,” the document indicates. which underlines that “other characteristics, such as an older population, colder temperatures, a higher population density or a greater proximity to the capital of the province, are also associated with a higher incidence of Covid-19 at the municipal level” .


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