The Community of Madrid advances the curfew at 22.00; orders the closure of all types of establishments (bars, restaurants and shops) at 9:00 pm; prohibits meeting in homes with other people other than the cohabitants; and, in hospitality, both indoors and outdoors, a maximum of four people may do so. In addition, the restrictions for basic health areas are extended to 56 of these areas and 25 localities, in which 1.6 million people from Madrid live, 24% of the population, and where 30% of infections are occurring.
Given the very rapid rise in infections and hospital admissions in recent days, the Community has already decided this Friday to toughen the measures with which Madrid will have to face the coming weeks, which the Minister of Health, Enrique, has reported this afternoon Ruiz Escudero, at a press conference. “We must prepare for a scenario in which the measures we take are not going to be enough,” he added. The new restrictions go into effect next Monday.
The vertical wall of contagions and hospital admissions that Madrid faces
This scenario, with a high transmission of the virus, has part of an explanation in the new British variant, as explained by the Deputy Minister of Health, Antonio Zapatero, in that same press conference: “The transmission of that variant is on average in the community by 9%, although by zones it can go from 7% to be above 33% ”. The estimate of the vice-minister, “if it is observed in the surrounding countries, that it doubles and even triples every week”, is that “in two or three weeks” this “will be the majority”. Faced with this scenario, both Ruiz Escudero and Zapatero have asked “no self-confinement but responsibility, maintain a safe distance and have as few contacts as possible.” “We are not in Madrid or in our country to carry out actions that are not essential,” said the counselor.
Neither professionals from the health system nor experts in epidemiology and public health see much room for maneuver for the next 14 days, the period of time in which the numbers of infections in these last days will take time to be reflected in admissions and entries to the ICU and, with a little more lag, in deaths. The epidemiologist Fernando García, from the Madrid Public Health Association, said this Thursday that it was practically inevitable to “tighten the measures.” This is what the Community has done, with this new package of new limits that will come into effect on Monday 25.
This positioning by the specialists has not been sudden, they have been warning for more than a week that stricter protocols were necessary to stop a third wave that is more vertical than diagonal. Last Friday, however, the Community softened the criteria for taking measures and raised the contagion threshold from which it decides what new restrictions it imposes. It had it at 400 and raised it to “the community average”, that is, to 618 —as the General Directorate of Public Health establishes its marks on the closing date of the weekly epidemiological bulletin, every Sunday.
That figure was almost three times the limit that the Ministry sets as extreme risk: 250 cases of cumulative incidence. Still, with an AI that’s been going up for weeks –that same day it was 698-, and with the anticipation that it would continue to do so, as it has done, the Ministry of Health decided to wait and see how the pandemic evolved during this past week.
The result? Seven days in which hospitals have seen the pace of admissions accelerate to a rate that epidemiologists, public health experts and health professionals equate more to the first wave than the second. The acute care units have grown in their occupation seven points: last Friday there were 2,839 hospitalized patients (21.05%) and this number rises to 3,854, 28.5%.
In intensive care units the flood is higher, and more severe. All eyes are already on them because not only the rest of the hospital depends on their room for maneuver, but the lives of the most serious patients. On January 15 there were 472 critics in the ICU, according to the daily report of the Ministry of Health, 100% occupancy; According to the data that Ruiz Escudero has given, this Friday there are 618 patients in their beds. That is, they already operate at 132% of their structural capacity, not counting operating rooms, post-surgical or resuscitation units or any other area that can be converted to treat these patients, those who cannot breathe on their own. And the weeks that are to come, said this Thursday the vice president of that medical society, Daniel Ballesteros, are going to be “terrifying.”
Information about the coronavirus
– Here you can follow the last hour on the evolution of the pandemic
– Restrictions search engine: What can I do in my municipality?
– This is how the coronavirus curve evolves in the world
– Download the tracking application for Spain
– Guide to action against the disease