The worst of the fifth wave of Covid-19 in Spain is now over. According to the latest report released by the Health Ministry on Friday (3rd September), the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants has now fallen below 200, something that has not been seen since 4th July.
The data supplied by the ministry is now showing a small fall in Covid-19 deaths, albeit with a daily total that is still above 100 (on Friday there were 155 fatalities reported). Since the fifth wave began, at the beginning of June, there have been 3,800 people who died after a positive coronavirus test, most of them seniors: the average age is 80.
This past week, a total of 795 Covid-19 fatalities were reported, which is 69 fewer than the previous week. And the average of daily deaths (with confirmed dates) is 48, compared to 50 the week before. These latter data points will rise as more deaths are reported and assigned to their corresponding day. Delays to reporting mean that the lines of these graphs oscillate constantly and there are no clear trends, in contrast to what usually happens with the cumulative incidence and hospitalisations. Several weeks will have to pass for these data to be consolidated and an accurate analysis of when and how these fatalities began to fall.
What is clear is that the death rate during this fifth wave has been much lower than that of the others. As the health minister, Carolina Darias, pointed out on Wednesday, it was 0.2% – that means that for every 1,000 positive cases, two people have died. Since the pandemic hit, that figure has been 1.7%, which is more than eight times higher. This statistic is also tainted by the first wave, when a very small proportion of actual infections were officially recorded. If the last wave is compared with those that came after the spring of 2020, it can be seen that Covid-19 has killed seven times fewer people.
Spain’s vaccination campaign last week hit the target of inoculating 70% of the population. This allows for some hope in the face of future waves. Based on what has been seen up until now, the death rate should be even lower: nine out of every 10 residents aged over 40 are now fully vaccinated, and the process is progressing for minors.
While the vaccines are starting to show a certain weakness when it comes to avoiding infection months after they are administered, they are still robust when it comes to avoiding serious illness and death. For those who are vulnerable due to weakened immune systems, a third dose will soon be administered.