In a few days we will stop talking about the weather and focus again on the coronavirus, with whom we have been living in Spain for more than a year. In this period, citizens have learned a lot from elemental and vaccine biology, however, there are simple knowledge that we have not yet understood well and that greatly influence the transmission of the virus.
Among the assimilated knowledge is that the virus is very dangerous for health, especially for adults and the elderly; Most Spaniards already know that the figure of something more than 52,000 deaths provided by the Ministry of Health, does not come close to the more than 80,000 deaths that according to the National Institute of Statistics and the Civil Registry have died in Spain due to excess compared to the statistics of the last decade.
We also know that until we achieve group immunity we cannot return to normal and that there are two ways to achieve immunity: getting the virus or getting vaccinated with an effective vaccine.
Established containment practices include hand washing, use of masks, and maintaining a safe distance. It is also widely known that indoor contact is considerably more dangerous than outdoor contact.
But, what are the knowledge that we do not finish assimilating?
We are only going to focus on three.
1.- The 14-day AI is a very insufficient indicator of the situation of the pandemic.
On November 30, the number of officially recognized cases in Spain was 1,648,187. The fourth round of the seroprevalence study that was published on December 15 and was carried out during the second half of November, together with the three previous rounds that ended in June, a figure that in Spain 9.9% of residents have antibodies , which is proof that they have been infected; This percentage represents 4,660,000 cases, which means that approximately one in three infected is being diagnosed; which means that two out of every three infected do not undergo isolation; which means that our management of the pandemic is very poor.
Extremadura, which is now the region with the highest AI, of 1,131 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, actually has, in all probability, an incidence of 3,190 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The other indicators that are measured: deceased, admitted to ICU, admitted to hospital, and percentages of ICU and hospital occupancy are much more precise and significant to give an idea of the situation; for this reason IRT is a much more appropriate indicator of the current and future risk of the COVID situation.
2.- Group Immunity (IdG) influences the probability of contagion from contacts. Statistically speaking, if 10 friends meet in Madrid, where the IdG is close to 20% and one of the 10 is infected, the probability of infecting any of the other 9 is now 20% lower than when the pandemic began and the IdG was 0%, since, statistically, of the 10 there will be 2 that already have immunity; and so on, that is, when an infected person returns to their UdC, the probability of infecting a member of the UdC is now 20% lower than at the beginning of the pandemic.
When the desired IdG of 70% is reached, the infections will not end, but will slow down. So, in a meeting of 10, there will be, statistically, seven immunized who cannot be infected, so that if any of the other three becomes infected, it could only infect 2 out of 10, so the probability of contagion would be 20% (it could infect 2 out of 10) and compared to the start of the pandemic it would have been reduced by 70% (it could not infect 7 out of 10).
3.- The contagions are proportional to the contacts. Let’s look at this carefully because it is the key to not repeating the attitudes that have fueled the third wave this Christmas and that are going to cause thousands of deaths, health stress and the new confinement of the majority of the population.
This prediction is supported by the fact that the indicator that gives information on the infections that have occurred in the last 14 days and announces the seriousness of the situation in the coming weeks has risen 76% so far in January and each day that passes the The upward slope becomes steeper as the trend line reveals.
And the IRT (Territorial Risk Indicator) with its weighted algorithm for deaths, income and ICU and hospital occupancy percentages, has grown by 40% so far in January.
It is convenient for the authorities and citizens to assimilate that the festivities are celebrated and celebrating involves more and closer contacts. It was verified in summer, with the second wave; It has been verified in the local festivals – see the analysis we made of the El Pilar festivities in Zaragoza – and, now, we are verifying live that Christmas has been celebrated with profusion. Our month of December, which begins with a long weekend, and the exceptional duration of the Christmas festivities in Spain, much longer than in most countries, encourages the explosion of contacts and, therefore, of infections. December 31 is the day with the highest number of contacts of the year; in addition, very close contacts and that, therefore, produce many contagions; If 10 friends get together, 10 different Coexistence Units (UdC) are meeting and when each of the 10 returns home, if they have been infected, they spread the virus to other members of their UdC.
Both the media and the authorities should be clear that the main recommendation to citizens is to reduce their contacts. Some motto will occur to them: “Attentive to the pact: less contact.”
Now, we have to suffer the consequences of not having done their homework: they have not been done by the authorities, who have lacked forcefulness in the announcements and in the measures and they have not been done by many citizens who have considerably increased the number of contacts at Christmas .
Let’s confine it!