Since last January 31, the first case of Coronavirus in Spain, contagions are rapidly approaching 1,000,000 cases throughout the territory. The first wave came unannounced and forced authorities to clamp down just 3 months after the first case was detected in China’s Wuhan province. On March 13, Spain presented a State of Alarm as the great forced measure to prevent the pandemic from causing even more havoc than was already inevitable.
After a summer marked by the limitations of the new normal, autumn starts with the second wave in full swing, although with a learning gained from the first episode that differentiates today’s situation from that of last spring. The big difference between this second and the one in March is that now many more PCRs are done than then: if in March between 10 and 20% of the cases were detected, now around 70% are identified.
This has a direct effect on the number of cases since more asymptomatic patients are detected and, therefore, the number of new infections exceeds even that of the end of March, when the peak of cases of the first wave was registered. In addition, the number of deaths has been reduced despite the increase in cases: early detection prevents more serious cases from developing. This is due, in large part, to two factors: there is greater knowledge about the disease, its possible treatments and cases that can lead to serious situations; and because the sick who need it arrive earlier at the hospitals.
In this second wave, the first line of contention is primary care. In many communities, CAPs and Health Centers are already saturated and overwhelmed by the lack of investment, trackers and foresight, with which the pressure is gradually redirected to the hospitals. And although the situation in these still remains below the levels of March in the whole of the State, new hospital admissions and in ICUs have increased week after week since the beginning of August.
Cases continue to rise in the vast majority of autonomous communities, although not all suffer the impact of the second wave in the same way. At this time, the focus is on the Madrid region, a community in which a new State of Alarm has been applied to control mobility. The rest of the territories are clearly above 100, and despite the fact that with variable speeds and accelerations, the trend is increasing in most of the territories.
The WHO determines that, to control the pandemic, the cumulative incidence (cases per 100,000 inhabitants) in the last 14 days must be below 50. After 100, the situation is serious and measures must be taken and, from of 250, the situation is very dangerous and the measures must be urgent, severe and forceful, since the outbreak tracing becomes ineffective.
The incidence data in the table below refers to the cases registered in the last 14 days. Taking into account the delay of some autonomous communities in communicating their figures, it becomes one of the most reliable variables.
Given that the data offered from Monday to Friday by the Ministry of Health are static and it does not allow adding the total increase to the previous days, the daily evolution by autonomous community of cases and deaths is periodically reviewed by the Carlos III Health Institute with the objective of homogenizing the series.
It is these data that are shown in the graph below and that, in addition, allow us to compare the impact of the first wave and that of the second in terms of new infections and deaths.
Despite the fact that the rest of the European countries are also experiencing a second wave, the figures for Spain are the highest in the entire EU. However, the United States, Brazil and Russia continue to lead in terms of the number of cases and deaths.
The data shown in the graphs are obtained from the daily reports published by the Ministry of Health from 6:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
The total cases, both state and by autonomous community, are updated every two days with the historical figures updated by the Instituto Carlos III de Madrid (ISCIII). This offers a historical review of the number of daily cases, since, day after day, the Ministry offers a global increase and the number of cases reported in the last 24 hours. When reporting the data through PDF, the image it offers is static, which requires a periodic update with the revision of the ISCIII data.
Regarding the data on the cases of Aragon, after consulting with both the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid and the health department of the community, it has been decided to add the daily data of positives by PCR tests and the daily data of positives by unknown evidence. The total sum coincides with the data reported by the community to the ministry, and, therefore, with the data that the ministry communicates on a daily basis. If the unknown tests are not taken into account and only the PCR positives shown by the ISCIII are taken into account, Aragon has hardly added cases since the beginning of August.