The headline that heads this news may be strange to the reader who is used to finding out about the epidemic data in the national press. How is it possible that we have been more than a month with less than 100 deaths from Covid per day if the figures that are communicated each day speak of 132, 148, 114, 121…?
The answer is somewhat complex and has sometimes been tried to explain in these pages. For example, the week in which Catalonia dedicated itself to uploading hundreds of overdue deaths into the system, distorting the picture of actual mortality that was taking place.
The key is to differentiate between the concept “deaths reported in one day “ and “deaths with date of death on that day.” The first figure is nothing more than the result of the subtraction of total deaths that the Ministry of Health publishes daily in its reports and can be obtained every day from Monday to Friday. The second, however, needs a consolidation process and takes more time. You have to know when the death occurred, how old the deceased was, where the death occurred …
To explain it, let’s take, for example, the data from February 9. That day, Health reported that the official mortality from the pandemic amounted to 63,061 deaths. The data of the previous day was 62,295 deaths, so that between both dates 766 more had been added to the Health records. Does that mean that on February 8, 766 people died in Spain from Covid? the reality is that no. There were actually 402, less than half. (Although it is true that this figure could vary later, as data is consolidated, but it is to be expected that it will do so very little).
What really happens with the mortality figure that is published daily is that includes data on deceased with different death dates, so it does not accurately reflect the reality of the day it is communicated. This is a matter on which Datadista, a digital medium specialized in data, has been warning for some time.
To understand it better, here is another example. Take the number of deaths that were reported last Thursday: 132. Of those 132 people, two died that same day, 15 on Wednesday, 27 on Tuesday, 21 on Monday, four on Sunday, eight on Saturday, four on Friday. . 90% of the deaths reported on Thursday were dated in the last month, the remainder is due to more delayed fixes and notifications.
However, it is to be expected that the number of deaths by date of death of the days of this week, to a lesser extent than the last one and even in some of the previous one, will grow, as more data becomes known. But if you look at the series, Since last March 16, 100 deaths were certified, no other day has that figure been exceeded and since then the increase in transmission has been slow and vaccination has advanced a lot.
Given that the time that elapses between infection and death is usually at least two weeks, the data for March 16 reflects the transmission situation at the beginning of that month, when the incidence was about 70 points lower than the current one. It is also true that, then, only 8% of Spaniards had received a dose. Now it is 30% and practically all those over 80 have some vaccine immunity.
It may still be premature to say it, but March 16, 2021 could be the last day more than 100 people died by Covid in Spain. No doubt the goal is to bring that number down to zero, but that milestone points the way.