Spain's Covid-19 death toll surpasses China but figures start to show signs of stabilising

Spain's Covid-19 death toll surpasses China but figures start to show signs of stabilising
  • With daily percentage increases getting smaller, the authorities are cautiously confident that the outbreak is approaching its peak

The coronavirus pandemic continues to plague Spain, although the statistics are beginning to show some mildly encouraging signs.

It might seem a contradiction in terms, but it is not: while records are being broken in absolute numbers of people infected and the daily death toll is still in the hundreds, the spread of the virus seems to be slowing down.

This is despite a particularly bad week during which the Covid-19 death toll in the country surpassed that of China on Wednesday (3,434). That was followed on Thursday by the breaking of the 4,000 barrier after another 655 deaths in 24 hours. The number of deaths in the country has almost doubled since Monday, when 2,182 people were reported dead.

The daily death toll continues to rise, although at a slower rate than in recent days, a figure the government is clinging to in order to support the notion that Spain is very close to ‘bending the curve’. From Wednesday to Thursday, the increase in deaths was 18 per cent, compared to 20 per cent the previous day or the figures around 30 per cent per day that were seen last week.

Above all, Thursday was the first in which the number confirmed dead was lower than the previous day: 655 compared to 738 confirmed on Wednesday. “We don’t know if this is going to be a trend, but this is data that gives us some hope,“ said the head of the Healthcare Emergency Department, Fernando Simón.

This data, the specialists insist, shows that Spain is approaching the top of the curve. Italy, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), has already reached its peak, has seen a reducing number of deaths for several days.

That said, the figures for the lethality of the virus in Spain are still very high. More than seven per cent of those infected end up dying.

The figures for the spread of the contagion are once again negative, although as with the data on deaths, there are some hopeful signs. Between Wednesday and Thursday the regional administrations reported 8,578 new cases. This is a record number in absolute numbers, bringing the total number of infections to 56,188 people. However, the numbers of new positives have a positive reading for the experts: the growth in daily percentage is 18 per cent, a slower rate of increase than last week when increases were seen close to 25 per cent.

The pandemic, therefore, could already be slowing its expansion, although the data so far is not yet sufficiently “forceful” to be able to point to a clear trend, despite the fact that Spain is now approaching the end of its second week in lockdown.