The incidence rate of Covid infections continues to grow in Malaga; on Thursday (16 December) it stood at 312.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which represented an increase of 30.6 compared to the day before.
The increase in the cumulative incidence rate, however, is not directly related to the number of patients admitted to Malaga hospitals with coronavirus. Pressure on the healthcare system is much lower than during previous waves of the pandemic, mainly thanks to the vaccine, which protects against severe cases of the disease and helps prevent deaths.
The number of Covid patients hospitalised in Malaga is currently three times lower than in mid-August, during the fifth wave. And if a comparison is made with the beginning of February, when the maximum peak of the third wave was reached (1,010 patients hospitalised), it can be seen that there are seven times fewer patients in hospitals.
In February the significant number of people who needed admission put hospitals on the ropes and forced them to suspend and postpone scheduled operation to free up beds for those affected by Covid, something that is not happening at the moment. On Thursday, there were 144 patients with coronavirus in Malaga hospitals, of which 22 were in an intensive care unit.
Likewise, the situation in the intensive care units is more reassuring than it was in mid-August, with three times fewer patients in an ICU with an infection caused by SARS-CoV-2, and up to five times fewer than at the peak of the third wave, when 129 people were in a critical condition on 10 February. Malaga’s intensive care units were under such intense healthcare pressure during the third wave (the one that occurred after Christmas last year) that they were on the verge of collapsing. If the high number of infections had been maintained for another week, the ICUs would have been saturated, something that did not happen because the Covid curve was bent and the number positive infections began to decline.
The explanation why the current rise in coronavirus infections has not led to an increase in hospital admissions at the same level as in previous waves lies in the high vaccination coverage of the population. Although vaccines do not prevent infections, they do stop the serious symptoms of the disease and, therefore, result in fewer people being admitted to a hospital ward or an intensive care unit.