Catalan nightclubs will only have remained open for three weeks. This Friday, July 9, all the establishments of “nocturnal leisure”, which had resumed their activity on June 21 thanks to the lull of the Covid-19 pandemic – with a gauge at 50% and the mandatory mask on the track dance – will have to close their doors again for at least two weeks. So decided the regional government of Catalonia, Spain, where the speed of spread of the virus worries more and more.
In two weeks, the incidence rate has increased eightfold, from 45 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days to 380, with a strong acceleration in progress, since it has quintupled in one week. And while the more contagious Delta variant accounted for the majority of cases in the region, the reproduction rate (R0) rose to 3.3, unheard of since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
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In question, the gatherings of young people, unvaccinated, eager to party. In Barcelona, the incidence rate among 16-29 year olds exceeds 2,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over fourteen days. “The government understands the thirst for meetings and relationships of young people after so many months of restrictions”, Spanish executive spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said on Tuesday, July 6, before asking “One last effort” in order to “Protect the most vulnerable of our families and ourselves”.
Hospitalizations on the rise
“The number of contaminations is growing at an exponential rate much higher than what we can afford”, underlined, for her part, the spokesperson of the Catalan government, Patricia Plaja. With 6,000 cases recorded in a single day, city medicine is “Particularly under tension”, she added, the vast majority of cases present with mild symptoms. But although vaccination is progressing well in Spain – with 41% of the population fully vaccinated and 60% having received at least one dose – this new wave “Begins to make itself felt in hospitals”, underlined Mme Beach.
In one week, the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients increased by 30%, and by 20% in intensive care units. Even if their number remains very limited, thanks to the vaccination of those most at risk (97% of over 70s and 100% of over 80s are), the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona has reopened a floor for patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The Catalan government has accelerated the vaccination of 16 to 29 year olds, fearing that hospital pressure will increase further in the coming days.
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