Masks are mandatory outdoors again. File photograph. / SUR

Spain’s national Covid incidence rate doubles in just one week, going from 609 to 1,206

Six Spanish regions lead the increase of coronavirus infections sweeping across Europe

ALFONSO TORICES

The increase of coronavirus infections in Spain is worrying. In just a week, the country’s incidence rate has jumped from the 609 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on 20 December, to 1,206 this Monday (27 December).

During these seven days, 397,395 more Spaniards have tested positive for Covid-19, which means an approximate national average of more than 56,000 new infections per day.

Before the end of the year, Spain could become the European country with the highest rate of coronavirus infections in this sixth wave of the pandemic. With its cumulative incidence rate of 1,206, it is already fourth, only behind the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

The difference is that most of these and others, such as the Netherlands and Belgium, have already started on the downward curve of the wave after having taken drastic measures to curb infections. Spain, meanwhile, is on an almost vertical rise, doubling the number of infections in a week and smashing the two-year record of the pandemic.

Top position in Europe

Spain, as a whole is fast moving towards the top European position for the Covid incidence rate, but in fact, several Spanish regions are already at the top of this sad continental ranking.

Navarra (2,339), La Rioja (2,145), the Basque Country (1,976), the Community of Madrid (1,769) and Castilla y León (1,733) far exceed the 1,663 infected per 100,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom.

The Community of Madrid, in a week has gone from having an incidence rate of 651 cases per 100,000 to 1,769 infections, almost triple. Madrid. together with Castilla y León and Extremadura, the regions that didn’t impose social restrictions, were the regions where the rate increased the most. The Castilian-Leon incidence rate doubled in seven days and in Extremadura it more than tripled.

Hospitalisation rates

However, despite the dramatic incidence rate figures, hospitalisation rates are still considered to be at ‘high risk’ in 12 of the 17 regions in Spain, with only Catalonia in an extreme situation (more than 25% of intensive beds occupied by Covid patients), and the four remaining regions are at medium or low risk. The national average is 16.3% of critical care beds occupied by coronavirus patients.