Rise in covid cases, but no need to bring back restrictions, says epidemiologist

AS seen in other European countries, Spain is experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases, but FISABIO investigator, Salvador Peiró insists stricter measures are unnecessary.

Covid cases are increasing (Photo by Visionartav)

On Friday the regional health department announced a total of 8,789 new coronavirus cases, through PCR or antigen test, across the Comunidad Valenciana since the previous update on Tuesday. By province, there were 756 in Castellón, 2,632 in Alicante and 5,401 in Valencia. Of those 3,775 were over 60s and there were 993 people being treated in hospital, of which 42 needed ICU treatment. By province there were 140 people in hospital in Castellón, with 4 in the ICU; in Alicante, there were 347 hospitalisations with 15 in the ICU; in Valencia province, 506 people had been admitted to hospital with 23 of those in the ICU.

Since the previous update, there had been 18 deaths from coronavirus in the previous seven days, of whom 11 were women aged between 69 and 99, and seven were men aged between 64 and 89.

No need to bring back restrictions

Salvador Peiró, a researcher and epidemiologist at FISABIO (Fundación de Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de la Comunidad Valenciana), believes that although there is an increase in covid cases, especially due to new variants, the situation doesn’t require the return of restrictive measures, such as limits on capacity or the use of facemasks indoors.
Talking to news agency EFE, Peiró pointed out that although the exact number of people infected is not known, because now only the figures collected by doctors are counted, “because of the infections we see around us, if they were all counted we would be at a similar point to last January, in the middle of the sixth wave, but the situation now is much better”.

Although Peiró explains that we have not dropped below the level of the sixth wave, as the volume of hospital admissions has stayed more or less the same since February and March, there has, however, been an upturn in cases. He added: “If we were to count them as in previous waves we would see a very clear seventh wave”.

However, he clarified to EFE that the repercussion of these cases and their impact on hospital admissions as serious cases is nothing like during other waves because “We have a lot of experience with the virus”, and, of this increase in cases he said: “I don’t see it as something that would force us to stop the world. In the coming weeks, I expect an increase in cases but not a drama.”

In his opinion, “the industry of crowds and agglomerations is completely unleashed” and when asked if this could lead to summer ending on a dangerous note, he commented that what is being seen is that the wave will be “rapid because there is no containment in transmission” and he believes that “it will not last much longer than a month”.

“It doesn’t seem to be a situation that requires the return of measures such as limits on numbers of people or the use of facemasks indoors. Although it does require a bit of common sense and a return to the small print which says that contacts of positive cases should reduce their interaction with other people”.

After stressing that the population is well-vaccinated and that there are many people who have had covid, he points out that the last seroprevalence survey indicated that in April 50% of the population of the Comunidad Valenciana had antibodies for having had the disease and there were far fewer serious cases.

“Although you have a lot of infections, and the result of this trickle is that there are more hospitalisations, with some in ICU, it is nothing like what we have been through. Even with infections increasing, it seems quite bearable for the hospitals, which is what we are monitoring”.

Regarding the administration of the fourth dose of the vaccine, he says that people are currently very well protected from severe covid, both those who have two or three doses, but if the increase in admissions to the ICU were high “I would be in favour of giving it to the elderly”, although at the moment, he says, he is “not sure”.

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