The curve of the coronavirus pandemic has bent for the third time in Spain. The drop in the indicators has already encouraged the autonomous communities to start a de-escalation, relaxing the strong measures that were taken after Christmas.
However, the successive waves of Covid in Spain show that, with each de-escalation, an upturn in cases inevitably follows , as more social contacts are allowed, the main source of contagion according to all scientific evidence.
Both the WHO and Spanish experts have insisted on the care with which the de-escalation must be carried out, because, remember, the virus is still active and there are still not enough vaccines to achieve sufficient group immunity to contain the pandemic.
This is how Spain de-escalated in the previous waves , and the increase in infections that followed.
The first state of alarm was decreed on March 14, 2020, given the growth of cases that was occurring in the country. The numbers became staggering at the time, in a situation where many aspects of the virus were still unknown and there were few resources to protect themselves.
There were no masks for the general population , and the number of volunteers who printed screens on their own for toilets multiplied, who in many cases had to use garbage bags without PPE.
The first wave reached its peak towards the end of March, when more than 7,000 daily cases were registered; on April 2 the peak of daily deaths was recorded, 950 . A figure that has been subject to change due to modifications in the Health recount criteria, and that in any case is relative because at that time there was little diagnostic capacity , which would have left many infections and deaths unrecorded.
To bend the first curve, the strictest citizen confinement that has been experienced in the pandemic was implemented, with schools, shops, hotels and most of the work centers closed.
Pedro Sánchez, at a press conference this April 18.
When the contagion curve bent, the Government of Pedro Sánchez designed the first de-escalation plan. On April 28, it announced that this plan consisted of four phases, through which the autonomous communities advanced as they met the criteria controlled by the central government. The objective was to open the economy as much as possible before the arrival of summer.
This de-escalation ended at the end of June (classes did not resume in person) with some setbacks. Communities like Madrid reached the end of the state of alarm, skipping a phase of the plan , because the central government was left without the legal tool to force regional governments to continue with the measures.
Transfer of the coffin of a deceased by coronavirus in Madrid. Only three days have ended without deaths in the entire coronavirus pandemic.
The numbers of the pandemic reached their minimums in July, with just a few hundred cases a day and even with days in which no deaths from coronavirus were registered (2, 5 and 16 of that month). The communities designed special plans for the summer (gauging in hotels and beaches divided into plots) but most of the harsh restrictions fell.
At the return of the summer, as some experts predicted, the infections rose again. In fact, the statistics show that the curve begins to rise already in August and by the beginning of September there are already more than 12,000 daily cases. The peak of this second wave is reached at the end of October: on the 23rd of that month, the new daily infections exceed 23,000.
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, at a press conference in La Moncloa.
Sánchez approves the state of alarm with the intention of extending it until May with a night curfew and limited mobility
This second wave was characterized because the autonomous communities were directly responsible . On October 25, Pedro Sánchez decreed a second state of alarm that included a curfew and delegated to regional executives the ability to apply restrictions.
Most of them began to decree perimeter closures and limitations to commerce and hospitality under the mantra of “saving Christmas”, that is, arriving at the end of December with numbers good enough to open the economy in one of the times of greatest consumption of the year.
Thus, the closures and restrictions were maintained during the bridges of November and early December, when infections reached below 6,000 per day. In other words, the curve fell, but not to the levels it reached in July.
Many restrictions fell after the December bridge, and it is from those dates that the curve began to rise again. At the gates of Christmas, the daily infections were around 12,000 a day , and many communities expanded the number of people in social gatherings and delayed the curfew to facilitate the holidays.
Number of cases entered into the Health records each day as of January 15. Spain exceeds the maximum incidence in the entire pandemic and reports a new record of cases: 40,000 in a single day.
The result was that the contagion escalation did not stop and continued to accelerate until reaching the peak of the third wave: On January 15, all the marks of the pandemic were pulverized : 40,000 new cases in a single day:
The numbers have remained at high levels for several weeks, in which the communities have closed the economy again, with measures such as the closure of the interiors in the hospitality industry, the prohibition of meetings in homes and perimeter closures at the regional and provincial level.
One of the most notorious cases was the curfew at 8:00 p.m. in Castilla y León , which exceeded the limits of the state of alarm, which only allowed it to be imposed after 10 p.m.
Number of coronavirus infections included in the Health records each day. The third wave continues its ‘downhill’: 10,829 new infections and 337 deaths reported on the last day.
Now, given the clear downward trend in the indicators, the provincial and municipal closures that some communities such as Andalusia or Aragon had decreed have begun to rise, as well as the reopening of small businesses and the interior of bars and restaurants.
Many experts, such as the virologist Margarita del Val, have pointed out that it is a mistake to lift the restrictions as soon as the infections decrease, because this only causes an increase in infections. The virologist is in favor of severe measures but applied in time.
Interview | Margarita del Val: “The choice we have made as a society has been to live on the edge”. “As soon as the curve flattens, we already begin to de-escalate,” said one of the country’s leading Covid experts in an interview given 20 minutes. “The choice we have made as a society has been to live on the edge, despite the fact that there are many deaths.”
Fernando Simón , director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, has not ruled out that there will be more waves of coronavirus in the country , but has pointed out that this time the curve will evolve differently before the arrival of vaccines .
Last Friday, the number of inoculated in the country reached three million . Studies have shown a drastic drop in the number of cases after vaccination.
However, the number of people who have already received the prick is still not enough to guarantee group immunity, which will foreseeably be reached when 70% of the population is immunized