The accelerated circulation of the omicron variant continues to pulverize the records of the pandemic in Spain day after day. The daily report of the Ministry of Health collects 161,688 new cases this Thursday, a figure that destroys the previous maximum that only 24 hours ago had been set at just over 100,000 infections. In total, there are already almost 6.3 million diagnoses reported since March 2020 on a day in which Health has also reported 74 new deaths.
The incidence has climbed another 267 points to stand at 1,775 positives per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, unthinkable records just a month ago. The communities that are being the most effective in locating positive cases, such as Navarra, have an incidence of 3,810 cases, which means that one out of every 26 inhabitants of this community has been diagnosed with the infection in the last two weeks.
Detection systems are at the limit and real cases, all the experts point out, are currently in Spain many more than those collected by official records. The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, admitted this Wednesday that the exponential growth of cases has caused a “bottleneck” in the information systems that the Government and the communities are trying to solve.
Exceeding a good part of primary care, the healthcare pressure also continues to grow on hospitals, although to a lesser extent than the increase in cases. There are currently 10,768 patients admitted, 357 more than on Wednesday, of which 1,803 (30 more) are in intensive care units (ICU).
The positivity (which reflects the number of diagnostic tests that detect the virus in the patient) has also marked a new maximum this Thursday, reaching 20.5%.
The forecasts made by the administrations are that the number of cases and the rest of the indicators continue to grow over the next few days, at least until well into January.
The unbridled growth of cases, and the greater lightness of most of them, is forcing the response of the health system to adapt to the new situation caused by the virus. Santiago Moreno, head of Infectious Diseases at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital, considers that this situation forces us to “rethink some things that have been done during the last two years”.
“I don’t know if it is worth testing asymptomatic contacts or isolating all positive cases. It is something that we must change. We cannot forget the highest risk groups, such as immunosuppressed people and also the unvaccinated. They are now the majority of the serious cases that we are seeing in hospitals. There are some measures, such as indoor masks or certain capacity limits, that can help us slow down the circulation of the virus and give us more time to administer the third dose to the more people the better. But to a certain extent, we must assume that the coronavirus will become another respiratory disease, “explains Moreno.
Experts suggest that the future response to the coronavirus will be more like the one the health system offers to the flu than the current one. “The important thing will be to protect vulnerable groups with vaccines and specific measures when a wave arrives. Also attend to the most serious cases. And monitor epidemiological evolution with a network of sentinel centers that also detect new variants. But the active search for cases, testing all suspects and tracing contacts is already unfeasible with these levels of virus circulation, “concludes Moreno.