Spanish Epidemiologist Dr Fernando Simón Reacts to the Soaring Covid-19 Rates

“Spain is not in a second wave of the virus,” according to Fernando Simón, Director of the Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts & Emergencies.

Simón, an expert epidemiologist, did acknowledge however that 16,000 new cases in three days “is not good” but still insisted that “this soft progressive upsurge is much more moderate than in other seasons.”

Dr Simón also claims that one of the reasons for the wave of 16,000 cases is that “the infections are occurring in communities and cities with larger populace, such as the city of Madrid,” which he described as worrying, saying, “everything that refers to bigger cities is arduous,” but he applauded “the powerful control measures and 59,000 PCR tests” being carried out every week in Madrid.

The doctor believes it’s “very likely” that there will be a “greater increase” in new infections in August, which is when most towns and villages in Spain tend to throw summer parties and said the priority now is to keep a lid on any new outbreaks – citing the new measures introduced recently regarding the closure of nightlife and cocktail bars including banning smoking in the street without proper distancing.

Schools reopen in September

“The goal is to get to September with the lowest level of transmission achievable, because of the reopening of schools and work centres after the holiday break,” he said.

Dr Simón stressed that Spain: “still has time to curtail transmission,” and stressed that “in most of the country the level of transmission is being progressively lowered.” He attributes the large increase in positive cases to “increases in some Autonomous Communities,” and points out that “around 60-70 per cent of positive cases are now being exposed, which is severely more than in March and April when only 10 per cent were diagnosed.

“There are three types of community: those that have evolved adversely; those that are currently in an upward phase and those that have not been in a phase of significant rise,” he said. “The problem we will find in September is that people from areas with different epidemiological situations will assemble, so we have to try to minimise the risk prior to that explosive mixture.”

Spain’s health minister also revealed that at the moment, around 20,000 suspected cases of coronavirus are being detected daily, that is compared to 10,000 six weeks ago and says the average age of those infected since the beginning of the pandemic is around 40.

“There are fewer than we might think and it’s a much lesser problem than we expected a couple of months ago,” said Dr Simón, who believes the current measures are “good enough” but called for a study into the hypothetical adoption of new restrictions in the future.

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Tony Winterburn

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