Infection boom: Catalonia has the worst infection rates among young people in Spain

The ministry predicts an uncontrolled incidence in the 20 year-old age group and Cantabria, the other major affected area, closes down nightlife

3 min
Young people queuing at the annex of the NINGÚN Arrabal Norte.

BarcelonaThe pandemic is out of control in Catalonia, with more than 9,000 positive of coronavirus in the last seven days, 5,000 of which have been declared this Friday. The Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, has reiterated his great concern for the current infection rates in an interview to RAC1, where he has affirmed that, if it were not for the good rate of vaccination that has been maintained in the last months, the current incidence would be heading towards a total confinement. "To be closed as in the first wave", said the Minister. The emergence of infections is occurring eminently among the young population, those between 15 and 34 years old, although a rebound is also being registered among the bands that have half-vaccination, from 35 to 69 years.

The daily data of the Department of Health show that Catalonia doubles or more infections every three days: if on June 25th 1,300 positive cases were declared, on June 29th the figure already reached 3,700. Thus, each infected person is infecting on average between 3 and 4 people (secondary infections), which complicates tracking and saturates access to primary care centers (CAP). At the moment there are already 24 counties that have an incidence of more than 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants and both the authorities and data analysts expect the infections to increase in the coming days. At this point, with its 2.3 million inhabitants, the region of Barcelonès is the main focus of covid infection rates, especially the city of Barcelona, which accounts for two out of five cases in the country and has an accumulated infection rate of 232 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Last week it was 118.

The escalation of infections also affects the southern metropolitan area as the Garraf, with a rate of cases reaching 157 positive, and Baix Llobregat, with 178. In Castelldefels, for example, last week 315 antigen tests were made in the Emergency Center for Primary Care (CUAP), where all diagnostic tests are centralized in the municipality, and 15% had a positive result. "This week, only between Monday and Tuesday, 203 have been made and 25% were positive. The growth is evident”, affirms the family doctor of the CAP Can Bou de Castelldefels, Noelia Caro, who assures that two weeks ago she practically did not have to declare positive test results in the registries.

The trend has also changed in emergency visits for suspected covid cases. In Castelldefels they have doubled in a week and, if on June 21st there were 48, on June 28th they were 102. "People think that we are not saturated because a very important part of the work we do we have been able to manage by phone or electronic consultations, but we do not stop. And this increase, if the trend continues, will result in a brutal workload", says Caro. Primary health professionals not only screen and diagnose covid suspects, but they are the key to the vaccination campaign, both at the CAPs and at the vaccination points, and they have to try to keep their agendas as high as possible, to serve the population with chronic pathology or other diseases that the pandemic has been eclipsing for months.

Uncontrolled outbreaks

The population bias must always be taken into account when X-raying the epidemiological status of a region: the less populated it is, the greater the risk of a single outbreak triggering the indicators. This is probably what is happening in Solsonès and Pallars Sobirà, which registers the highest cumulative infections in the country for 14 days, with 434 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, although the outbreak has a lot to do with a party in a nightclub the night of San Juan, which already affected about forty people, and that of a group of adolescents between 16 and 20 years old who made an end-of-year trip and who already accumulated fifty positive cases.

In fact, parties in indoor venues -authorized by the Government- and end-of-year trips are one of the most worrying sources of infection. The most mediatic macro outbreaks are those of the Balearic Islands, which accumulate more than 600 infected only in Catalonia (327 in Mallorca and 285 in Menorca) and 5,284 close contacts, and the Canary Islands, with 43 positives and 347 contacts.

The highest accumulated infections coincide with the emergence of these types of outbreaks: in the Conca de Barberà, which has 341 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an outbreak was recorded among young people in Montblanc with about seventy positives, or in the Baix Ebre, with 193 infections per 100,000 inhabitants after the outbreak declared in Deltebre among a group of young people who traveled to Tenerife. In addition, the area of Central Catalonia and Girona are those that have detected more infections so far in "recreational activities and leisure areas", with 43 and 33, respectively, which would explain the increase in the spread of the virus in Osona (185 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), l'Anoia (125) and Pla de l'Estany (189).