By Laura Kemp • 16 April 2020 • 11:20
Image of electricity pylons.
Fedea, the Foundation for Applied Economics Studies in Spain, has released a report which claims that 62 per cent of coronavirus cases would have been avoided if the populations were confined prior to March 8, a controversial date in which nationwide protests were experienced.
THIS Wednesday the number of coronavirus cases in Spain reached 177,622. This figure could have been drastically reduced if quarantine had been decreed on March 7, instead of March 14. More specifically, according to Fedea, the cases could have been reduced by 62.3 per cent.
According to the report, if the blockade had been applied just a week earlier, the number of cases registered on April 4 would have been 47,766, just over a third of those actually registered on that date (126,859). “Such a decrease would likely have prevented the collapse of many hospitals in our country,” the authors state. In essence, Spain would have avoided 79,093 cases up to that date.
However, the authors agree that the general message is that confinement has been revealed as “an effective tool to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 in Spain.” “However, we think that there was a lack of foresight on the part of the Spanish government, which failed to anticipate the real development of the coronavirus epidemic,” they point out.
To achieve these results, the authors used an econometric model of the evolution of the accumulated number of coronavirus infections from daily data at the provincial level in the Peninsula from the beginning of the epidemic to April 4.
They carried out two simulations to compare: on the one hand, they simulated the evolution of the cases in each region if confinement had not been decreed, and on the other, the number of infected if that measure had been taken a week earlier.
The study also reveals the opposite, that, in the absence of a State of Alarm, the number of confirmed cases in mainland Spain would have increased from 126,859 to 617,743 as of April 4. Thanks to this measure, around 490,884 infections have been avoided, which represents an average reduction of 79.5 per cent in the number of infections.
Based on the data published by the Ministry of Health in Spain in relation to the fatalities caused by Covid-19, the authors estimate that the current quarantine restrictions have prevented 46,619 deaths, 220,531 hospitalisations and 25,757 ICU admissions on the Peninsula.
In addition to the data produced by these simulations, the study reveals that the onset and intensity of provincial epidemics depends on the level of international mobility, and points out that measures to control travellers from previously affected areas, such as Italy, should have been put in place “long before” they were enforced.
They also indicate that the mobility of citizens between provinces has also played a “significant role” in the spread of the virus in Spain, and this was “significantly” reduced by decreeing the State of Alarm. Confinement, they conclude, has therefore reduced contagion between territories.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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