The virus beats us once again
The Catalan minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, has admitted this Monday that he did not expect an escalation in covid-19 contagion on the scale that has affected Catalonia in the past fortnight. "I thought there would be an upturn, but never this explosion in cases," he admitted without hiding his disappointment. The fact is that the virus runs rampant among younger population, with a cumulative incidence at 14 days of over 3,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 29.
This escalation already forced the Generalitat to close the nightlife not even a week ago, and has now forced it to decree the closure of all activities, from catering to cultural events, at 00.30 pm. Meetings are also limited to under 10 people and measures are being taken, such as a ban on eating and drinking in public spaces, which aim to reduce crowds and the presence of young people in the streets at night as much as possible. In reality it is a disguised curfew, although it cannot be ruled out that a real curfew may be applied after the Valencian justice system backed the one put in place in the region. The question remains as to whether these measures ought not to have been taken all at once a week ago, when it was already clear that figures were rising exponentially.
In any case, this "new effort" that Catalan minister for Home Affairs Joan Ignasi Elena has asked of the population comes after we all believed we were at the end of the tunnel, with a fatigued health system and the general population exhausted, especially mentally. And the truth is that we have to admit that the virus has beaten us once again. The new delta variant has multiplied cases among the unvaccinated and has taken advantage of the gap between the first and the second dose to spread among young people at dizzying speed, finally widening to the rest of the population.
And the number of infected young people is so large that, despite the fact that only 1% of them need to be admitted to hospital, wards are already feeling the pressure. It is particularly significant that one in four people admitted to ICUs is under 40, compared to only 4% previously, and that the average age of those hospitalised has fallen from 63 to 50 years.
Unfortunately this "explosion" in cases will also have an economic impact, especially in the catering industry, but also on the tourism sector in general, which had crossed its fingers hoping that vaccination would take effect and help save the season. It will not. Catalonia, and especially Barcelona, has become a major focus of the disease and it is expected that there will be a drop in bookings. We have to be as careful as possible and hope that in a few weeks, thanks to vaccination, we can say that the nightmare is over.