The pandemic returns to an expansion phase in Catalonia after a month of decline in infections

Catalonia It ends in February and focuses on March with worrying data regarding the pandemic. Despite the fact that diagnosed cases of coronavirus continue to decline and the incidence continues to gradually decline, the Transmission speed The virus – the number one indicator that things can get tough – has been on the rise throughout the month. But it was this last week of February that this reproduction rate exceeded the value of 1, from which epidemiologists understand that the pandemic is once again entering the expansion phase.

The current situation is not seen in the number of infections – which continue to decline – nor in their incidence, let alone in hospitals and intensive care units. But by increasing this famous ‘Rt’, the factor that raises the curve, worries more and more the Catalan Department of Health. Last Monday, for the first time since mid-January, this Rt started to show values ​​above 1 in Catalonia. Last Friday it had increased up to 1.03.

This figure indicates that for every infected person who has the disease, the virus is able to jump into at least one other person. The pandemic therefore threatens again to complicate matters in Catalonia, while the Generalitat assumes the return to face-to-face classes at the university on March 8.

Other indicators analyzed by epidemiologists from the Generalitat to know the evolution of the pandemic show that the decrease in risk that had been observed weeks ago has slowed down, maintained and even increased in some parts of Catalonia – especially in Barcelona and in the central area. Thus, the risk of regrowth – an indicator that only Catalonia produces – stays above 200 points in practically all the Catalan regions, showing a map dominated by the color red in a generalized way.

The pandemic returns to an expansion phase in Catalonia after a month of decline in infectionsMap of the risk of regrowth in Catalonia, in red the areas at the highest level.

Another week of restrictions

These data are at the origin of the decision of the Generalitat to maintain the restrictions applied in the region for at least seven more days, although some changes in the limits are expected, “small adjustments to move forwardAs stated by the Minister of Health, Alba Vergés.

For example, we proceed to the opening of stores in shopping centers but only during working hours during the week – weekends will be closed -. Stores larger than 400 m2 can also do this. As for sports activities, the capacity is increased to 30% “for closed spaces for sports activities”, specifies Vergés. 50% in swimming pools. The other measures, hard in themselves, remain in place due to fears of an emerging “fourth wave”.

In the longer term, Catalonia looks to Holy Week -first week of April- with skepticism. As the central government and the health ministry assess a possible easing of restrictions in the face of these festive dates, in Catalonia it is doubtful he can do anything to save Holy Week.

Catalan President Pere Aragonès assured that Catalonia will make the decision on what to do on those days, insinuating that he will not even take into account the criteria set by the Ministry of Health of Carolina Darias. Iran “for free”, he warned.

‘Hasel effect’

Data on the worsening epidemiological situation cannot be directly linked to the demonstrations and violent riots that have been recorded since the middle of the month in favor of rapper Pablo Hasél, sentenced for exaltation of ETA. But they are important in view of the agglomerations that produce.

Precisely to avoid these chains of transmission, Catalonia has kept the hotel industry closed and severely restricted all kinds of social gatherings. Thus, for example, the Generalitat currently recommends limiting leaving the home as much as possible, keeping in contact only with “coexistence bubbles “, meetings of 6 people maximum and two environments of coexistence and “prohibit meetings or gatherings in public spaces ”.

This last point is blatantly violated by the pro-Hasél appeals, since they bring together hundreds of people in very small spaces.

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