The pandemic has affected health and the economy above all. And it has done so in parallel in both sectors, just as the recovery was intended to be. However, now the situation is different in both areas, with the economy driven by tourism and declining health, especially among the youngest. Y Everything has a common denominator: the relaxation of mobility limitations, the end of the curfew and the non-obligation to wear a mask outdoor.
Just fifteen days ago the summer began and, with it, the relaunch of tourism and hospitality, keys for economic results to be positive again. The good weather, which has been accompanying for days, has made the beaches overcrowded and hotel and hostel reservations begin to pick up pace. Also influencing the EU vaccination strategy and the – increasingly – facilities to travel from one side of the continent to the other thanks to the Covid passport, which, since it came into force on July 1, has accumulated more than 3 million downloads in Spain. And is that 39% of the Spanish population is already fully immunized (18.5 million people) and 55% have at least one dose on (26 million).
This is side A, the one that gives hope. But there is also a B-side, more worrying. Almost simultaneously at the beginning of the summer season, epidemiological data have worsened, although not in the number of deaths. The 14-day incidence has risen to 152.82 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest data (from Friday) provided by the Ministry of Health. This represents a rise of 60 points in just two weeks. On June 21, Spain registered one of the lowest incidence data since August 2020: 92.46 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
This boom is driven by two factors: the extension of the Delta variant of Covid – native to India and more contagious – and the upturn in infections among the youngest, especially in the 12 to 29 age group, those who have barely received any dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus and whose incidence exceeds 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The director of the Ccaes, Fernando Simón, said last week that “the Delta variant is not a cause for concern”, when it was detected in 2.7% of cases, reaching 10% in the Community of Madrid and exceeding 30% in Catalonia, where they foresee that this strain will already be dominant in the next few days.
So, Simon attributed the worsening data to relaxation in young people after a macro-outbreak was detected among students who traveled to Majorca for the end of the year, which resulted in almost two thousand infected from 12 communities. Among them, at least a hundred cases of the Delta variant were detected. That outbreak was the largest, but the first of many detected among young people wanting to regain their old normality. That is why now the autonomies ask that more precautions be taken, accelerate the rate of vaccination to reach the youngest as soon as possible, some such as Andalusia, Catalonia or the Valencian Community have been forced to postpone de-escalation, and others are considering revisiting the current measures to possibly toughen them up.
This last case is that of Navarre or Galicia. In the Autonomous Community, “no scenario to tackle risk situations that may have repercussions on public health” is not ruled out, according to the spokesman for the Navarrese Government, Javier Remírez. For its part, the medical committee that advises the Xunta announced that the epidemiological situation is now “different” with “significant increases” in cases among young people, so it will be necessary to analyze and “propose adapted measures.”
In León and Asturias young people aged 16 to 25 and 15 to 30 are being screened, respectively, given the “explosive increase” in cases in the last week. In the Principality, the number of new positives has not stopped growing, reaching 320 yesterday, of which three out of four are less than 30 years old. In the Castilian-Leon province, of 3,703 tests carried out so far, 10% have been positive.
Things are worse in Catalonia, which after exceeding 5,000 positives for four days in a row, yesterday totaled 3,462, and the growth began to be noticed in its hospitals. Yesterday there were 49 more patients admitted than the day before (522 in total), while the risk of regrowth rose to 679 points, 241 more than the day before. For its part, Andalusia, on Saturday again exceeded 1,900 cases; the Valencian Community it registered a new high, with 1,692 new positives; Y the Community of Madrid yesterday added 414 new cases, 599 less than the previous day.