– After being heavily pollinated, Spain survived the new wave
The country has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe with 63 cases per 100,000 population over the last 14 days. Almost 80% of the country’s population is vaccinated.
With the highest vaccination rate in the major European countries, Spain has escaped the resumption of pollution on the continent. However, experts warn that it is not immune to an epidemic rebound. After the shock of the first wave of spring 2020, the country has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe with 63 cases per 100,000 population over the past 14 days.
That rate is twice as high in Italy, about six times as in Germany – a country which on Thursday set a record for new infections with more than 50,000 cases in 24 hours – and 12 times higher in Britain, according to an AFP report based on official figures.
Nearly 80% of the population has been vaccinated
A “positive” situation was welcomed Wednesday in parliament by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who said “there is more than one reason for satisfaction given what is happening” in neighboring countries. In Spain, where the population was less reluctant to vaccinate than elsewhere in Europe, 79% of the population was fully vaccinated against 67% in Great Britain and Germany.
And almost everyone in their 70s (99%), a higher rate than in France or Italy, thanks to a vaccination campaign that closely followed the age pyramid. “This order of priorities caused a slowdown in the beginning but in the end had better results in the long term,” Inaki Comas, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine in Valencia, explains to AFP.
He adds that the milder climate, which still allows Spaniards to see each other outside or eat on the balcony, also played a role. And if last month there were no restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet and nightlife resumed, masks remain mandatory indoors.
But experts warn of a return of contamination due to the onset of cold and bad weather, the fact that the protection offered by vaccines tends to wane over time and the risks posed by new variables. “These three factors are an ideal cultural vehicle for the coronavirus,” explains Inaki Kuma, who sees Spain “entering a critical stage.”
We know how the virus is transmitted. When it gets cold and night falls early, we tend to go in and that’s where the virus spreads,” says Cesar Carballo, an emergency physician at Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid.
Country on the ‘right track’
Even if the country has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, epidemiologists refuse to talk about herd immunity because it cannot be achieved with single vaccines that do not suppress infection. Salvador McCabe, professor of health sciences at the Open University of Catalonia and author of a book on “Great Modern Epidemics” confirms.
According to the Seattle-based Institute of Health Data and Evaluations (IHME) (northwest US), Spain is expected to see an increase in the number of cases from mid-November, rising in December before peaking at the end of the year. But even if the “infection rates are high,” “if people were vaccinated, they wouldn’t get serious diseases,” asserts Inaki Kumas.