"The population has successfully passed the Easter test but this is not the time for euphoria"
The indicators tend towards stabilization and experts ask for patience to oxygenate the hospitals
Santa Coloma de GramenetEpidemiological indicators have fluctuated for ten days due to the lack of covid diagnoses during the Easter holidays. Key data such as the rate of infection (Rt), which measures the speed with which the virus spreads, first fell sharply to implausible values (0.88) and now, while trying to achieve statistical stability again, have skyrocketed falsely (1.39). But the reality is that the Easter holidays have not accelerated the curve of contagions. Or rather, the behaviour of the population during Easter has not caused an uncontrollable avalanche of new infections.
For example, the Rt is now around 1.18 and health authorities are confident that in a few days, there will even be a decrease in infections. At the moment, they are diagnosing 1,600 daily cases on average - 11,705 weekly - but the Department of Health is confident that they can go down by 6%, to 11,000 cases per week. This scenario is very different from the forecasts the authorities and health professionals made, who feared an uncontrolled fourth wave after Christmas triggered the third wave.
"The data, although still high, are undoubtedly good, as they show that the population has successfully passed the test of Easter: there was no acceleration. However, this is no time for euphoria: we can be optimistic, but we also need patience", says the biophysicist of the Computational Biology and Complex Systems Group (BIOCOM) of the UPC, Daniel López Codina. The expert says that the tide is turning, although the next few days will be key to consolidate this improvement. He attributes this change to the fact most people behaved responsibly. "We have all suffered a lot in the last year and people are becoming more aware, acting more consistently. He has realised that our behaviour determines the evolution of the indicators," says Codina.
New daily cases and ICUs
Nani Vall-llosera, a doctor at Bon Pastor Health Centre, also argues that the responsible attitude maintained by the majority of the population has meant daily cases have not skyrocketed, although many positives are still detected weekly. PCR tests and antigen tests are counted by the dozen and although many are negative, the specialist stresses that when the virus enters a household, it affects most members.
"However, this has nothing to do with the horror of Christmas, after two weeks of meetings for meals and after-dinner meals indoors," explains the doctor. According to Vall-llosera, the type of social interaction during Easter has been mainly outdoors, thanks to the good weather, and probably without a mixture of coexistence bubbles or, at least, using all the protective measures. "The population has also learned that it could not make the same mistakes as four months ago," explains the doctor.
However, Codina recalls that hospitals are very full and that you can not take false steps after the disproportionate and extremely rapid escalation of intensive care units in recent days. In just ten days, the number of admissions to the critical areas soared from 418 covid patients on April 1 to 519 on April 12. At this point there are only 500 coronavirus patients in ICU beds, many of whom are patients who were admitted during the third wave (January-March) or even the second (September-December).
"There has now been a slowdown in ICU admissions, but this containment needs to be consolidated. The data of a few days [three] cannot change the attitude of the population, which has to continue to be extremely careful and make the last efforts to de-stress the health services while the vaccination campaign progresses," has insisted Codina.