Saturday, November 27

Spain’s ‘covid oasis’ draws a Christmas without scares

“We are growing and increasing hospital pressure, but we do not expect, far from it, a growth like that of the summer “, points to this newspaper Daniel López-Codina, researcher at the Computational Biology and Complex Systems Group (Biocomsc) from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). “We are in a new stage of the pandemic: the incidence can grow a lot, but not the mortality and the effects in hospitals are not the same, “he adds.

But this is not the situation for the whole of Europe. Each country lives its own that depends, says López-Codina, on the level of vaccination. The most vaccinated countries, including Spain, are experiencing a less serious situation than those of the least vaccinated, such as those in eastern Europe. The Biocomsc highlights evidence: “There is a relationship between the incidence of the coronavirus and vaccination.”

More than half of global infections

Although Spain right now is a a kind of covid oasis within Europe, More than half of the COVID-19 infections diagnosed in the world are taking place only on this continent. An average of 460,000 daily cases are occurring across the planet, of which 260,000 are being recorded on the European continent, which is once again the “epicenter of the pandemic”, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned several times in the last few weeks.

Looking ahead to the remainder of fall and the following winter, things could get complicated. Some 43 countries in Europe are facing “high or extreme tension” in hospital beds due to the increase in covid-19, as the WHO director general for Europe warned this Wednesday from Barcelona, Hans Kluge. Kluge has participated in the presentation of the Pla de Salut 2021-2025 of the Generalitat of Catalonia, which the Government has yet to approve and which will set the strategies to follow in the next four years.

The WHO president recalled that, since the covid pandemic began, in Europe there have been almost a million and a half deaths. “We could have another half a million deaths in Europe and Central Asia before February “, Kluge has warned, who nevertheless has praised the high vaccination rate in Catalonia, where 83.5% of the population over 12 years of age already have the complete guideline.

López-Codina, in this regard, is more prudent. “The level of vaccination has its effects on hospital pressure. I think it cannot be said that there will be half a million more deaths until February “, he opines. Even so, he is in favor of introducing new control measures in Catalonia and Spain, such as the implementation of the covid-19 certificate. “You could ask more activities [en Cataluña solo es necesario para acceder al ocio nocturno]. This promotes vaccination, so increasing the demand for covid certificates would be a good measure, “adds the Biocomsc researcher.

Four groups

The Biocomsc has established, for Europe, four groups of level of affectation of covid-19. The first is made up of countries with a incidence at 14 days less than 200 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, who also have a vaccination rate well above 65%. In this group are Spain or France. The second group, of which Germany is a part, is made up of countries with a incidence greater than 200 cases and with a vaccination rate of around 65%. The third group of countries have a incidence greater than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a vaccination below 60%. Here are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary or Ireland. And the fourth and last group is made up of countries with a incidence of 1,000 cases and a vaccination below 55%. Here are Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Slovenia.

“For the vaccination to have effects, the percentage must be quite high. What is evident is that, depending on the vaccination, the dynamics is one or the other”, insists López-Codina, who emphasizes that Spain has, in this sense , “the best situation of all European countries”. Also because the fifth wave affected this country very intensely and brought with it the immunity of a large population. “Now we have grown again in contagions. We have not solved or controlled the pandemic, but the prospects are better than in other countries “, Add.

In Catalonia the risk of regrowth has gone from moderate to medium this Wednesday, rising from 72 points yesterday to 85 today. In addition, for the third consecutive day the number of people hospitalized for covid has increased again: there are 328 people hospitalized (five more than yesterday), of which 78 are in the ICU (two less than the day before). Of course, mortality remains at the lowest levels since the beginning of the epidemic, with a total of 10 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last seven days.

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