Society 31/07/2021

Infections drop in all age groups

Uncertainty about the evolution of ICUs while deaths continue to rise

2 min
A coronavirus patient in the ICU

GironaThe evolution of the virus in Catalonia begins to show some positive notes. The main one: the incidence is decreasing in all age groups. A fortnight ago it began to reduce the one that had risen the most, the 15-29 age group, but not the one that was most worrying, the over-70s, who have the worst prognosis. However, the latest data show that it is also beginning to fall. "It is good news, we have very clear indicators that they probably are going down, more slowly than young people, but they are going down", celebrates Biocomsc researcher Enric Álvarez, who also highlights another fact: in CAPs (primary healthcare centres) there is no increase in consultations of people over 70 years old and even in those over 80 there is a decrease.

A decline that is also reflected in the number of new cases detected weekly: in two weeks it has gone from 51,085 infections to 34,432 (-32%). However, it should be borne in mind that, since 10 July, the Health Dpt does not test positive asymptomatic contacts and therefore fewer tests are done. Even so, Alvarez gives reliability to the decline because there are several indicators that follow the downward trend. For example, the positivity rate: a week ago 20% of the tests were positive and now 16% are, although it is still well above the 5% recommended by WHO. "When visits to CAPs are down in all ages, positivity is down and the number of people affected is down, it means that cases are really decreasing", he says.

Admissions to ICUs and deaths continue to rise

However, the key to determining whether we are really on the right track are admissions, ICU occupancy and deaths. Hospitalizations have been declining for a couple of days, however, according to the researcher, we will have to wait until early next week to confirm that the peak has been reached and the curve begins to decline. In contrast, the occupation of critical beds continues to rise and in just two weeks it has doubled: from 259 to 572. Likewise, deaths continue to increase: in 15 days the number has gone from 19 to 160 people in a week.

""The predictions with hospitalisations on the ward are more reliable, but with ICUs and deaths there is more uncertainty because they depend much more on the weekly casuistry: whether the virus penetrates more in unvaccinated environments or in environments where people are more vulnerable and have previous illnesses", says Álvarez, who adds that in previous waves the number of people who died dropped at the same time as the number of critical beds, but with vaccination this could change. Precisely this week the Catalan Health minister, Josep Maria Argimon, predicted that next week the number of ICU beds would reach 700. "We might reach the number, and we may not. We will see in 5 or 10 days", admits the researcher.

Biocomsc works with mathematical formulas to make predictions about the progress of the pandemic, and his diagnosis is blunt: "If the current measures that do not allow large superpropagator events are maintained, the short-term prediction is good and has resorted to the decline. But it is necessary to maintain the current measures", he insists.

As for the vaccination campaign, this week 150,000 new appointments have opened and the Department of Health announced that in August 450,000 doses a week will be injected, 100,000 more than now. In total, in Catalonia there are currently 3,970,899 immunised people over 16 and 5,019,611 have received the first dose.