The rebound of positives in COVID-19 that the spring brought made us begin to talk about the fourth wave of this pandemic in Spain when several autonomous communities entered into high or very high risk according to the scales set by the Ministry of Health.
However, given that we have been vaccinated for almost four months, It seems unlikely that this fourth wave is as problematic as the previous ones.
The population most vulnerable to the virus, who were more likely to die or be admitted to the ICU, is practically fully vaccinated (at least with one dose, which also provides some immunity), as we can see in the following graph.
The fourth wave of the coronavirus is advancing in Spain, but not as fast or with the same speed as previous waves did; In addition, there are signs that it is entering a phase of stability. Health reported this Tuesday almost 7,500 new infections and 114 deaths.
These are high figures, but the incidence at 14 days has stopped increasing: 231 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It is the record for the fourth wave, but it does grow, according to statements by the director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, Everything indicates that I would not do it much more. In addition, we are facing a significantly lower incidence if we compare it with that suffered at the beginning of November, when the 500 cases were exceeded and, especially, during the third wave, in which almost 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants were reached at the end of January.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, in the last 24 hours the number of people hospitalized has decreased by 102, to 10,345, although the number admitted to the ICU has increased by 13 (to 2,289).
The healthcare pressure In general, it has not yet begun to decrease significantly, because we are still dragging the effects of Holy Week and we are also facing the dominant British variant, which causes more hospitalizations, but the occupancy of ICUs decreases slightly in Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands and Murcia.
According to the latest data, the death toll remains at the levels of recent days (114) and a total of 77,216.
Factors likely to reduce the fourth wave
In the first place, punctures not only prevent infections, but also reduce the severity of the symptoms of the person who has been infected, even if they have only received the first dose.
Right now we have 20% of the total population with at least one dose and 7.2% with both doses. Not counting the people who have also passed the infection.
The effect of vaccination is particularly palpable in countries where the percentages of immunized are high. For example, in Gibraltar, which has already exceeded 90% of those vaccinated with a complete schedule, there is almost a total absence of infected in the last week (6 per 100,000 inhabitants), as well as in the United Kingdom (16 per 100,000 inhabitants), with more than 15% of vaccinated.
Fernando Simón has estimated the lethality of the virus at 0.6 / 0.7%, the lowest fatality figure since the pandemic began.
Although more anecdotal in nature, the good weather It will also be a factor that will help us, as it already happened last summer. We will spend more time outdoors, where the spread of the virus is miniscule compared to a room or closed place. According to statements by the prestigious virologist and researcher at the CSIC, Margarita del Val: “In summer we will have better weather, so the probability of getting infected is ten times lower.”
Thus, while we must not lower our guard, all indicators invite optimism and open us a much less deadly and dangerous fourth wave scenario.