Spain's cumulative incidence rate for Covid-19 has risen to 569.69 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days on Monday (19 July), an increase of 62 points over the weekend.
The country, which has already passed the highs of the second wave (529 on 9 November) and of the fourth wave (235 on 26 April), is at the levels of early February when the third wave was in decline, after peaking at an incidence rate of 899 at the end of January.
At the current rate, Spain could reach that level again in just a matter of days.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health added a total of 61,628 new positive cases to its statistics, a figure much higher than the 33,932 or 32,607 registered on the last two Mondays.
Although the incidence rose in all age groups, again it is the 20-somethings that saw the greatest increase. In the group of 20 to 29 year olds, the incidence rate went from 1,666 on Friday to 1,794 on Monday.
The situation is especially alarming among the twentysomethings of four regions where the incidence rate exceeds 3,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, levels never before seen in a pandemic in any group. In Castilla y León the rate is 3,591; Catalonia 3,374, Navarra 3,333 and Asturias 3,061 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.
Also, in the 12 to 19-year-old group, the growth in incidence was especially strong, going from 1,385 cases on Friday to 1,488 on Monday.
Despite the young age of many of the infected, María José Sierra, of Spain’s Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) warns "the number of coronavirus patients on the wards has grown 65 per cent compared to last Monday and 45 per cent in the intensive care units in the whole of Spain." She added that there are almost 6,500 patients admitted with Covid when at the beginning of this month the number was around 2,400.
“It is true that the speed of infections is slowing, but we are at a very delicate moment. The virus continues to circulate widely,” Sierra insisted.
At the moment, despite the generalised increase in hospital occupancy in the 19 regions, only Catalonia is deemed at an extreme risk situation, exceeding 25 per cent of those admitted to an ICU due to Covid.