A woman puts on her mask in the street. / R.C.

Spain’s Covid incidence rate in people over 60 years of age jumps 35% in a week

All the regions - except Andalucía, Asturias, Valencia and Murcia - exceed an incidence rate of 1,000 and the occupation of hospital and ICU beds by patients with the virus continues to rise

J.M.

With two massive festivals on the horizon including the San Fermines running with the bulls in Pamplona (Wednesday) and the Pride parade in Madrid (on Saturday) in addition to dozens of summer celebrations, Spain once again easily exceeds the 1,000 incidence rate, and returns to the levels of Covid infections that were seen in mid-February, almost five months ago.

Driven by two sub lineages of the Omicron variant (BA.4 and especially BA.5) that have a high transmission capacity (including in people who have recently had the disease), the cumulative incidence rate in people over 60 years of age, the only group which is measured in the current ‘flu phase’, the virus has been confirmed in 1,135 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants, according to the Ministry of Health's report this Tuesday, 5 July.

It represents 14% more than those notified last Friday and 35% more than those announced just a week ago. There is a special virulence in those over 80 years of age, an age segment in which the incidence rate reaches 1,483.

All of Spain’s autonomous regions, except Andalucía, Asturias, Valencia and Murcia, exceed a thousand incidence rate. The data shows that there is a clear and rapid upward trend in infections, which places the country at levels similar to the peaks of the third and fifth waves (899 and 700, respectively), but still far from the dramatic figures of last Christmas, with a sixth wave that exceeded an incidence rate of 3,200.

Hospitalisations have also increased. There are 11,586 patients admitted to Spanish hospitals with Covid, some 1,337 more than last Friday, of which 502 are in an intensive care unit (449 four days ago), which represents an occupation rate of 9.56% on the wards (8.37% on Friday) and 5.73% in an ICU bed (5.06%). In the last four days there have been 148 deaths nationally, bringing the total official number of deaths with a positive coronavirus test to 108,259.

Prudence

Given this scenario, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, appealed this Tuesday, 5 July, to the public for prudence and common sense in the use of masks indoors when there are crowds and when a safe distance cannot be maintained. The minister has once again left it in the hands of the experts of the Vaccine Conference, to decide when to start administering the fourth dose of a vaccine to people over 80 years of age and vulnerable groups. The decision to give this fourth injection has already been made, but what is not yet known is when, although it is not likely to be until the autumn. Faced with pressure from some regional governments who want to advance the administration of this fourth dose, Darias has insisted that this decision will be made within the committee. In this sense, the minister welcomed the high percentage of the population vaccinated with the full schedule, which has already reached 92% of the population over 12 years of age.