Fifth corona wave in Spain, virus now affecting young people
In Spain, the fifth wave of Corona is sweeping the country almost unchecked. On Tuesday, the regions reported almost 44,000 new infections to the national health ministry, almost 13,400 of which had been diagnosed in the past 24 hours, and 13 covid deaths were also registered. The seven-day incidence thus rose to 258 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, with as many as 579 in the hotspot of Catalonia. By comparison, the incidence in Germany on Wednesday was 7.1.
Since the beginning of the week, Spain has thus exceeded the threshold of 200 cases from which the German Robert Koch Institute designates a country as a high-incidence area. This would have consequences for German holidaymakers in Spain: anyone who is not fully vaccinated or has not recovered from an infection would then have to spend at least five days in quarantine on their return. It would be a new blow to Spanish tourism, which is crucial to the recovery of the economy. A "certain uncertainty" is being felt among German vacationers and a stronger trend to travel to countries such as Greece, according to German tour operator DER Touristik.
In Spain, the virus is spreading mainly among the largely unvaccinated population younger than 30. The end of the school year, numerous parties and the end of the mask obligation had contributed to the fact that also the highly infectious delta variant spreads ever faster. In the meantime, the number of covid patients in clinics is increasing; however, the situation still cannot be compared with that during earlier Corona waves.
Across Spain, Corona cases in hospitals account for 3.5 percent, although their number has increased by 47 percent in one week. However, in Catalonia, which has been particularly hard hit, the proportion of intensive care patients suffering from covid is already 21 percent. One in four corona patients in Barcelona and Madrid hospitals is younger than 25. Valencia and Catalonia imposed restrictions again, particularly targeting nightlife. The Canary Islands are also planning nighttime curfews.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias nevertheless expressed confidence. In a month and a half, she said, 70 percent of the population would be fully vaccinated. That, she said, was a "big leap forward in controlling the pandemic." But there is also discussion in Spain about whether, given the delta variant for group immunity, significantly more people should not be protected. Currently, 46 percent are, and nearly 60 percent have received a first dose. The health minister demanded that the assessment of the current situation not only look at the incidence, but also include other data, such as the vaccination progress and the relatively low hospital occupancy.
Image by Gerd Altmann