* Information updated with the latest data available as of January 26
The third wave breaks a record of infections and takes thousands of municipalities to situations of extreme risk. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than 37,000 daily cases are reported in Spain, almost double what was detected at the height of the second wave: 20,000 positives a day. A serious epidemiological situation that is reflected in the cities: 47 large municipalities with more than 40,000 inhabitants register incidences of more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. In other words, more than 1% of the city’s population has been infected with coronavirus in the last two weeks. Indicators of extreme risk of infections that still continue to rise in most of the territory.
Ibiza (Balearic Islands), Alcoi (Alicante), Segovia and Palencia lead this incidence record since the start of the second wave in Spain. The three municipalities register more than 2,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, unprecedented figures in large cities, according to the analysis carried out by elDiario.es based on data from the Health Departments of 17 autonomous communities and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and melilla.
Furthermore, practically no municipality shows signs of having flattened the curve. Confirmed cases of coronavirus are rising 📈 in 2,327 municipalities where 81% of the population lives. On the contrary, they are only in decline 📉 in 602 municipalities where 9% of the Spanish population lives and in the plateau phase (they remain more or less the same as two weeks ago) in 164, where 5% 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 – which represent 8% of the Spanish population.
The outbreak of cases has its record in Torrevieja, where the incidence has multiplied by more than 18 (+ 1,761%) in just two weeks. A rapid increase in infections that is also repeated in other cities and provincial capitals such as Elche (+ 512%), Antequera (+ 490%), Cuenca (+ 358%), León (+ 303%) or Cádiz (+303 %).
In any case, infections are increasing throughout the Spanish territory and practically all large cities except for the Balearic Islands, part of Catalonia and the island of Tenerife, one of the territories that took more restrictive measures during Christmas: a curfew to 10 at night, limited meetings to 4 people and closure of the interior of bars and restaurants.
The following graph shows the ranking of large municipalities (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.
According to the latest available data, 35 million Spaniards –3 out of every 4– live in municipalities with an incidence of more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, double the rate that the Ministry of Health classifies as “extreme” risk. The figure increases with respect to the 30 million people who resided in municipalities with this incidence just a week ago. If we look above this threshold, up to 12 million Spaniards live in municipalities with incidences above 1,000 cases: 1 in 100 residents was infected in the last two weeks.
Among them, provincial capitals such as Murcia, Valencia, Badajoz, Segovia, Palencia, Ciudad Real and Valladolid, where cases have also grown rapidly in the last two weeks.
Heterogeneous data and absences from 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 data on infections in each town: practically the entire territory to With the exception of the smaller municipalities of Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalunya 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 of the communities are not always homogeneous among themselves due to the type of tests they include, the dates on which they update their figures or due to changes in the publication of the data in the same month. More details on the methodology. 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 one million cases of coronavirus in which the municipality of residence of the infected person has been identified. Of the 17 autonomies 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 must be taken into account that the number of cases is closely related to the ability to detect them by health authorities. 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 regional government of La Rioja, which at first 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 COVID-19 situation.
Precisely, these data are essential to fight 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 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, data on registered unemployment, level of studies 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.