November 30, 2020

The wave of outbreaks shoots the number of hospitalized to its worst level since May amid doubts about the tracking system

Spain has registered 288 new hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the last seven days, according to the report as of July 22 of the Coordinating Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies. It is double that at the beginning of last week -146 admissions- and stands at levels at the end of May, when the official figure was at 263. In a context with more than 200 outbreaks of the disease, “it is a sneak more than than need to strengthen case tracking and diagnostic tests “to control the pandemic, as defined by the former director of Public Health and spokesman for the Spanish Society of Public Health, Ildefonso Hernández.

The curve of new cases experienced a sharp rise from July 8 when it accumulated 2,347 positives in seven days. From there, it has accumulated more than 9,000 in the last week. A few days later, the line of cases requiring hospitalization began to draw a similar curve: on July 13, 146 people had been admitted in a week. For the 17th of this month, the number of hospitalizations in seven days reached 228. This Wednesday, 288 COVID-19 patients have been registered who have entered a hospital since July 15. “Actually, it was time for something like this to happen since, if the total number of new cases grows, it is logical that the number of cases that are hospitalized grows,” Hernández analyzes.

How is the epidemic evolving now?

Evolution of cases, deaths, hospitalized and ICU patients accumulated during the last week

Source: Ministry of Health

Although the numbers are similar to those of a month and a half ago, there are also some qualitative differences. Now, the patient’s profile has changed a lot compared to the pandemic wave peak. These are younger people who develop the mild version of the disease or not even that. Since the start of the de-escalation, around May 10, one out of every four infected is under 30 years old (previously they only accounted for 7% of cases). The median age (the central value of the fork) has gone from 60 to 48 years due to this increase in younger infected. Furthermore, more than half of those positive for new coronaviruses are asymptomatic, as reflected the analysis of the 23,000 cases detected since then carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute.

This change in the usual typology of the COVID-19 patient has resulted in the hospitalization rate of cases since May 10 being at 8.5%. Before it was 38%, a third of the total volume of reported cases. This rate is the proportion of new cases that have required admission to a hospital center. That of the last week with those 9,011 new diagnoses and 288 hospitalizations is 3.2%. All in all, “the increase in the incidence of the disease has to affect the incidence in hospitalization,” explains the epidemiologist Hernández before the growth of cases.

The point is that active outbreaks in Spain, which exceed 220 with more than 2,600 associated casesAccording to the Ministry of Health, they have pushed the curves upwards and with an abrupt climbing pattern in recent weeks. Faced with a rise in cases like the one shown in the graph, it is only a matter of time, that is, the days it takes for the disease to evolve, which also increases the number of people who must finally go to the hospital, although in this phase there are more infections among younger people, less vulnerable, in principle, to the more serious effects of COVID-19.

But both charts show that the virus is circulating and is being transmitted. Outbreaks like those that have arisen in Aragon and Catalonia have triggered those curves. Also numerous and almost explosive groups such as the party in a nightclub in Córdoba or Gandía (Valencia) or the latest known in the Fuenlabrada football club have made clear the need to implement and strengthen a comprehensive system early detection, diagnosis and contact tracking referred to by Ildefonso Hernández, and who has shown signs of weakness due to the coordination failures registered, the limited resources allocated by the autonomous communities for these tasks and the “lack of control” of those identified. In this sense, the Region of Murcia has paralyzed, at the moment, indoor leisure activity. All the Autonomous Communities have imposed the mandatory use of masks although it is possible to keep a distance (with some exceptions) except the Canary Islands and Madrid. The latter said on Wednesday that it will decide on this measure if the central government does not respond to its requests for passenger control at Barajas airport. In reality, all the outbreaks in this autonomy have been in workplaces or associated with family gatherings and excursions of friends together with the case of the Fuenlabrada club.


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