The pandemic of covid-19 it is a new path that all of humanity is traveling for the first time, albeit at different speeds. If a few weeks ago the infections began to rise in countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel – where 47% and almost 60% of the population, respectively, already have the complete vaccination schedule -, now it is Spain where the delta variant begins to gain ground, especially among the youngest, which is the group that is not yet vaccinated.
The ‘macro outbreak’ detected among end-of-year students in Mallorca, with 1,267 infections detected until this Monday, could accelerate the change in trend detected in the last four days with records published by the Ministry of Health. Last week the incidence accumulated at 14 days in Spain began to scale up to 95 cases from the 92 cases in which it had stalled. This Monday it rose five more points, to 100.
If last summer the seasonal workers were the epicenters of the outbreaks at the beginning of summer, this year, the massive celebration of the end of the course among students from all over Spain on the island of Mallorca is “an example of what will happen this summer, with a large part of the population susceptible to the delta variant (all those that do not have two doses, or 65%), which is increasingly present, “says Salvador Macip, a Spanish doctor and researcher at the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom, who also warns that mobility, tourism and “looking at what has happened in the UK, the wave of summer seems inevitable“.
Now, is it a wave or a ‘wave’? In your opinion, “it will surely not have the impact of the previous ones in terms of admissions and deaths, because a large part of the most susceptible population already has both doses, but there will be increases in these figures as well. ”
Macip agrees with the spokesman for the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (Seimc) and doctor at the Hospital de Valme in Seville, Juan Antonio Pineda, who considers that the ‘macro outbreak’ among students “should not lead to a fifth wave as long as all cases are detected and isolations and traces are carried out correctly “. It will depend on this that the already more than a thousand infections detected so far do not translate into an increase in hospitalizations and deaths in the event that the virus is transmitted “to older people who have not yet been vaccinated,” as especially people from between 60 and 69 years, still pending the second AstraZeneca puncture.
However, Pineda does not expect a large number of deaths “because the majority of people at high risk of covid are already vaccinated in Spain”, while pointing out that regardless of this massive contagion, “We cannot rule out the appearance of a fifth wave because before this outbreak the incidence in Spain was already increasing due to changes in measurements in recent weeks. ”
For his part, the epidemiologist and ICREA researcher at the Barcelona Institute of Global Health, Quique Bassat, points out that this ‘macro outbreak’ leaves us with several “lessons”. In the first place, he states, “it is evident that when you join young people with few control measures transmission occurs. “He also regrets that all the people who have been in contact with the infected will have to be confined -” are returned to their Communities or are still on the islands “- and that” we have to expand control measures also to those young foreigners who are in the islands “.
In this sense, the expert criticizes that “it seems that there has been a double standard: they have applied much stricter measures among young Spaniards than among foreigners and now we have to be just as strict with all the young people who are on the islands. ”
This event of ‘super spread’ of the virus is an “example of what is going to happen this summer” in Spain
In the same vein, the president of the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene (SEMPSPH), Dr. Rafael Ortí, has spoken, who considers that “heads should fall” not only from the organizers of the events in which massive infections have occurred, but also from the health authorities who have not carried out the relevant controls.
Ortí is “quite concerned” about the transmission produced in the ‘macro party’ and assures that this event of ‘super spread’ of the virus will give him “reminds the football match between Atalanta and Valencia CF“, played in Milan in February 2020, when northern Italy was the epicenter of the pandemic and from where the nearly 2,300 Valencian fans who had traveled to attend the meeting returned to the Valencian Community.
Ortí remembers that vaccines are demonstrating their ability to “avoid income and mortality, but not infection“, which is why he asks people who have not yet been vaccinated and who, even if they are young, are vulnerable to covid-19 to be extremely cautious.
“From the SEMPSPH we already said that it was soon to take off the mask“Adds Ortí. On the other hand, Pineda insists that” if we remove the masks correctly, they do not have to increase infections, unless we relax when we do. you have to use them (if there is no distance outdoors or indoors) “, he warns.
“We have a problem and much more drastic measures will have to be taken”
Bassat, for his part, predicts that “decisions will have to be made to tackle the consequences of this outbreak. Obviously we have a problem and much more drastic measures will have to be taken “. One of the indirect consequences of this ‘macro outbreak’ is, in his opinion, that it will be necessary to “re-harden measures that had become more flexible in recent weeks and not doing so would put us all at risk of a fifth wave or perhaps ‘wave’ that would harm the entire nation “, concludes the epidemiologist.
This Monday, the Government has approved a new regulation for organized trips to the Balearic Islands, after the macro outbreak of study trips, which will oblige all groups of more than 20 people to have a Negative PCR done 48 hours before arriving or having the complete vaccination schedule. In addition, the Government has asked the central government to reinforce the police to prevent risky behavior in tourist areas and control at airports.
The Government Council has also decided to extend the sanitary measures agreement that was in force until July 11, so that “restrictions are not relaxed” pending the evolution of the health situation, said the vice president of the Government, Juan Pedro Yllanes, who has thanked the measure announced by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, that British tourists arriving in the Balearic Islands will have to be vaccinated with the full schedule against the coronavirus or, failing that, they must have the results of a negative PCR.