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Spain returns to the Covid 'extreme risk' zone after exceeding the 250 incidence rate

Pedestrians in the historic centre of Ciutadella, Menorca.
Pedestrians in the historic centre of Ciutadella, Menorca. / EFE
  • The Ministry of Health reported 17,384 new infections in the last 24 hours, a number not seen in Spain since 11 February, when the country had just passed the peak of the third wave

This Wednesday (7 July), after some four and a half months, Spain officially returned to the area of 'extreme risk' of virus transmission, exceeding 250 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days.

The national cumulative incidence rate was precisely 252.16, after jumping almost 26 points in 24 hours.

The country, as a whole, has not experienced such a high rate since 22 February after Spain had passed the peak of the third wave with a rate of 900 cases at the end of January.

During the fourth onslaught of the virus, which culminated in late April, the country did not exceed an incidence rate of 235 cases.

Although the cumulative incidence rate rose in the last day in all age groups, the increase among the young, and therefore less vaccinated, was high.

In the group aged 20 to 29 years, the incidence rate shot up 96 points in a single day, figures never seen before in the Ministry of Health statistics, going from 717 to 814 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The situation in this age group is especially worrying in Catalonia, where the cumulative incidence among twentysomethings stood at 2,009 cases this Wednesday.

Among adolescents, the spread of the virus also took a disturbing turn. In the group aged between 12 and 19, the cumulative incidence increased in the last 24 hours by 77 points, going from 652 to 729. In this age group, in Navarra, the incidence rate soared to 2,323 positives per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Ministry of Health also reported 17,384 new infections in the last 24 hours, numbers that have not been seen in Spain since Thursday, 11 February when the country had just passed the peak of the third wave.

Hospital pressure

Indicators from the Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre suggest that this growing trend in infections is not going to stop, at least in the short term. The cumulative incidence rate at seven days stood at 169.56, more than half the 252.16 incidence rate at 14 days, which suggests that the spread of the virus is far from slowing down. The constant growth of positivity (the percentage of positive cases out of the total number of tests carried out) to 9.75 compared to 9.21 per cent the previous day also indicates that the curve will continue to grow in the coming days.

The only 'positive' news was that this dizzying fifth wave is still far from overwhelming healthcare services. The occupancy of hospital beds and intensive care unit beds with Covid patients has even fallen slightly in recent days, standing at 2.35 and 6.55 per cent respectively.