PCR testing for the virus. / RC

Spain surpasses 5 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic

According to the official figure, almost 10 per cent of the population have been infected since March 2020, although the real number of positives is likely to be much higher

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO

Spain officially surpassed five million registered coronavirus cases since the start of the worldwide health crisis. Exactly 5,002,217 people have tested positive, some 10 per cent of the population, since the pandemic began some 20 months ago in March 2020.

However, the real figure is probably much higher because, especially at the beginning of the crisis, tens of thousands of infected people were never diagnosed due to the lack of tests.

With Monday's data Spain has declared the tenth highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world falling behind the United States, India, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, France, Iran and Argentina.

New onslaught

Spain reached the mark of five million positives just as fears were starting to grow that the country was facing a new onslaught of the virus that could unleash a new wave, which would be the sixth. Despite the fact that the country is in the top group of the world ranking with more than 90 per cent of the 'target' population already fully vaccinated, the 14-day cumulative incidence rate rose at the weekend, going from 44.49 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Friday to 46.38 on Monday.

Incidence rate up

The incidence rate grew in each and every one of the age groups, although not more than three points, and in most of the regions. The incidence rate increase was especially severe in Navarra, jumping by nine, and the Balearic Islands and Valencia, with five. If this pattern continues, the Ministry of Health fears that this week Spain as a whole could leave the low-risk zone and enter the medium-risk area (with an incidence rate of more than 50), which it left on 6 October.

The cumulative incidence at seven days was placed at 23.92 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Monday, slightly above half the rate at 14 days, which rules out - in the short term - a runaway growth of the virus.

Positivity up

Less optimistic was positivity, the percentage of positive tests out of the total number of tests performed. This indicator, which has been growing since 11 October 11, climbed from 2.23 per cent on Friday to 2.44 per cent this Monday, which confirms that the transmission of the virus is growing, although not rocketing.