This is the rolling coronavirus story for Sunday 26 July 2020.
20 more positives in the province in the last 24 hours
Almería adds 20 new positives for coronavirus and there are already 16 hospitalized
El Ejido outbreak increases again and adds 102 positives
Almería lives today another day of ascent of the epidemiological curve, although this time it is more relaxed, since it has added 20 new positives in the last 24 hours, nine fewer than yesterday. In addition, this Sunday the province again sees an increase in the number of new hospitalized with two more in the last 24 hours and 16 in total, 2 of them in the ICU, which places it as the province with the most hospitalized in Andalusia.
With the data released this afternoon by the Ministry of Health and Families of the Andalusian Government, the province already has a total of 1031 positives detected by PCR and maintains eight active outbreaks, one in Levante-Almanzora with five positives; another in the west, which remains with eight; in Almería there are three, one with four, another with 38, one more than yesterday, and another with eight, one more than the day before; one more in Levante, which remains at 13; in Poniente, that of Berja rises one more and is already 31, and that of El Ejido, which already exceeds 100 and 102 are detected in total.
In addition, the province has two more recovered patients and there are already 863.
As for the hospitalized, Almería is the province that maintains the most patients in the hospital, with 14, of which two are in the ICU. Figures that are unmatched in the rest of the community, where hospital pressure is currently as follows: Cádiz (4 hospitalizations and none in ICU), Córdoba (6 hospitalizations of which 1 in ICU), Granada (9 hospitalizations and none in ICU), Huelva (without hospitalizations and none in ICU), Jaén (1 hospitalizations and none in ICU), Malaga (7 hospitalizations and none in ICU) and Seville (3 hospitalizations of which 1 in ICU).
Thus, in total today there have been 78 new positives detected by PCR, with the province of Seville as the main affected with 23 positives, followed by Almería, with 20, and Malaga and Granada, with 11 positives in the last 24 hours. . With these data, Andalusia already has 14,523 positives revealed by the PCRs in the autonomous community since the start of the pandemic on a weekend in which, as has happened since the beginning of the 'new normality', the Ministry of Health and Families of the Junta de Andalucía do not offer the data of new infected by coronavirus in each of the 103 municipalities of the province of Almería.
5 key things about coronavirus in the province
Since the alarm state was lifted, the province has been experiencing the days with the highest number of infections since the pandemic began. The alarms that did not sound in March, April, May or June, began to be heard in July, exceeding the number of one thousand infected, when, at the beginning of the month, we barely exceeded seven hundred. The last fifteen days have yielded figures that cross the threshold of reasoned concern to delve into concern close to alarm. In the last two weeks, 393 positives have been diagnosed by PCR, almost a third of all infections that have occurred since the start of the pandemic. Why has this negative evolution occurred in the province that had had fewer cases during the most critical months of the crisis? The text that follows contains some answers to this question, extracted from conversations held in recent days with Almería experts in the fight against Covid.
KEY 1 SEARCH FOR THE CONTAGIATES
Since the start of the pandemic in March, only people with symptoms compatible with COVID had undergone the PCR test. It was the patient (from the virus or other pathologies) who demanded the diagnosis. Now the process is the other way around: it is Health who, when it detects a case, goes out to look among its contacts for other potential infected. This change is of extraordinary importance for two reasons. The first, because by tracking contacts and deciding on their house confinement, the risk is reduced that, if they have been infected, they could be transmitters without knowing it. The second, because, when the tests multiply, the appearance of new positives gives a more realistic view of the presence of the virus. In the last two weeks, PCR has been performed in circles potentially infected by having had contact with an infected person. This increase in tests leads to an increase in asymptomatic positives, which, for experts, is a very important fact because it allows their confinement, which eliminates the risk of uncontrolled spread of the virus. In the El Ejido (61 positive) and Berja (31) outbreaks, it was the detection of patient zero that triggered the screening strategy in search of those most affected and, therefore, their control.
KEY 2 LABOR AND SOCIAL OVERCOME
The productive structure of the province causes the concentration of many people in certain workspaces. This circumstance explains that three of the outbreaks detected in Poniente and Níjar have yielded figures higher than the 150 affected in just over a week. In the centers linked to the agricultural sector, all protocols have been scrupulously followed, but the irruption of one case has ended up causing the high number of infected. Being part of the same line of manipulated or working and living sharing the same physical space, a farmhouse in the case of Berja, makes it impossible that the arrival of a single case does not end up affecting those around her. Housing, occupational or social overcrowding is a vector of contagion with high infective power. The outbreaks detected thus support it. Zero risk does not exist no matter how strong the shielding is and very strict compliance with the protocol.
After months of house confinement, the de-escalation process has ended up leading to a perception, mistaken for lacking a scientific basis and extremely risky due to the cost that it could entail in the increase of infections, that the virus was in retreat. This perception has led to the dismantling of the entire trench architecture from which an invisible enemy had been fought against which the tactics of attacking are not worth, but the strategy of defending. Against Covid, only self-defense is effective and, if it relaxes, its infectious power multiplies. This reality (this irresponsibility, perhaps better) is what explains, to a certain extent, the continued appearance of outbreaks. If you can't go looking for your enemy, don't make it easy for him to find you. And that, unfortunately, is not being done. Raising awareness among the population, especially young people, that, despite their strength against the virus, they are an extraordinary vector of transmission is an obligation shared by all. Punish those who breach the use of the mask, a responsibility of which the municipalities must not make any abandonment. Mayors and security forces should not forget that, although unpopular, fines are a weapon of mass destruction against the ignorance or stupidity of those who believe they are invulnerable.
KEY 4 THE VISIBILIZATION OF THE ASYMPTOMATIC
This key is demographically linked to the previous one. Failure to comply with the rules affects all age sectors, but in recent weeks, young people have been the demographic spectrum where the rules are most breached. The almost non-existent perception of risk at that age, the expansive frivolity with which advances in the de-escalation process and unconsciousness have been perceived, have caused the average age of positives in the province to have passed 60 years at the beginning of the pandemic, at 35 of these last weeks. No one is invulnerable. Young people, either. The epidemiologically proven reality that the majority (95 percent in the province) of the ´positives´ that occur in that age range are asymptomatic or, in any case, very slight, which should not cause Increased relaxation, on the contrary, should be a reason to extend the control perimeters to avoid the spread of the virus.
KEY 5 UNCONTROLLED LEISURE
The arrival of summer has led to the opening of the usual leisure spaces for the season. It is normal and there is no need to worry. What should cause concern is that the use of these leisure spaces, mainly at night, is not subject to rigorous controls. Crowds must be banned at all times and everywhere and, in the first order, on bars and dance floors in tourist and beach resorts. So far there has been no outbreak in these spaces, but if the permissiveness continues, it will end up increasing and its appearance could be inevitable. Action must be taken. It is true that doing so will decrease profitability in those spaces, that there will be workers who this summer could see their job expectations altered, but how much better is to limit the risk now than to have to act urgently later. The appearance of an outbreak in Vera, Mojácar, Roquetas or El Ejido would not only affect the affected establishment, it would affect all those in that specific area and, inevitably, the entire tourist sector of the province. This is a different summer. Let's behave differently. Nothing will happen because on the dance floors the music does not sound shrill nor the bars do not feel the heat and crowding of a subway car at rush hour. Every decision has a cost. But the time has come to choose and make decisions. The bottle must be prohibited in any place and circumstance. Nightlife must be regulated with restrictive rigor in the mandatory rules and forceful sanction for those who break them. The cost of doing it will be high. But much higher will be the one that will have to pay for not having made the decision. And the Board is already taking time to take it.
The advantage is that if zero risk does not exist, patient zero can be detected. And that is what has happened in the major outbreaks. A case was detected, alarms went off, and the search and control machinery started up. Within a few hours, dozens of people were already confined and subjected to PCR. The figures are certainly startling; but the alarming thing would have been that before the appearance of these two zero patients, others with symptoms had waited. In any case, what the management of the most important outbreaks in the west and Níjar demonstrates is that, not only do we not have to lower our guard, but we must increase it with more technical and personnel resources. The situation of the El Ejido hospital is, according to some of its workers, worrying about the continued detection of new cases.