The football stadiums and basketball courts of professional sports competitions may be filled to 100% of the capacity as of Friday, March 4, as determined this Wednesday by the Interterritorial Health Council, validating the agreement they reached at the beginning of this month thanks to the good evolution of the epidemiological data, which already adds up to four weeks in constant decline.
This was announced by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, at the end of the meeting with the regional councilors, at a press conference in which she recalled that the use of the mask will continue to be mandatory in these events.
Raising the capacity of outdoor and indoor stadiums to 100% marks the end of the transition that began in August last year , when they reopened after the start of the pandemic.
Since then, the opening has been progressive, faster in the case of outdoor stadiums and has also gone through the ‘ freezing ‘ when in November a worsening of the situation began to be noticed and by a reverse gear, which occurred in December, when the outdoor stadiums returned from 100% capacity to 75% and the indoor ones, from 80 to 50%, due to the arrival of the sixth wave.
Lower lethality in the sixth wave
Now the situation is totally different . “We continue with a downward trend”, Darias has “celebrated” about a reduction in the accumulated incidence that is observed in all age groups and that this Wednesday stands at 1,060 cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 14 days. It is also noticeable in hospital admissions and in ICUs: today, ordinary beds are occupied by Covid at 8.7% and those in intensive care, at 14.7%.
Despite the fact that there are hundreds of them every day, the minister has also tried to put the number of deaths into context, which, proportionally to the infections, is much lower than the third wave, the most similar to this sixth by date -also developed from Christmas onwards – and by population – affected the population in general, unlike, for example, the “young” wave of last summer.
“The global lethality is 0.9% , the lowest figure since the pandemic began ,” said Darias, who pointed out that in the case of the sixth wave, which has claimed more than 4.4 million infections by Covid, the lethality is 0.15%.
As he recalled, in the third wave -between December 2020 and February 2021- there were 1.4 million infections that produced 24,321 deaths , which represents a fatality rate of 1.58%. In the sixth, more than 4.4 million infections have been registered and 6,589 people have died .
“We celebrate that we have a good evolution,” Darias pointed out after the meeting with the councilors a day before their respective director generals of Public Health meet this Thursday, in the midst of a debate on whether to shorten the isolation period again. that people who test positive for Covid must respect.
Shorten the insulations again
At the moment, there are contradictory versions about whether there will already be an agreement or not, although Catalonia has already taken it for granted in its claim that children who test negative do not have to do isolation and can continue going to school. The Government has indicated that they are going to start applying it next Monday.
In any case, Darias has not clarified whether or not there will be a decision tomorrow in the Public Health Commission on the isolation of asymptomatic patients, which is part of the “new strategy design” against Covid from now on. “We are waiting for the proposal from the Alerts Report [and Preparedness and Response Plans], which is doing intense work and from there the bodies will have to decide”, also on quarantines, the minister said that, faced with announcements such as that of Catalonia, has stressed the need to ” adopt agreements jointly”.
Sources familiar with the work of the Report do not rule out that the Public Health Commission may already agree this Thursday on some measures related to the period of isolation, where the communities are divided between those who already want a new reduction in the days in which a person with Covid you must stay at home without going out and those who ask for “prudence”.
In the first group are regional governments such as that of Castilla-La Mancha, which, as its Minister of Health, Jesús Fernández , recalled on Tuesday, “continues to insist on reducing the days, from seven to five or three.” The Community of Madrid also defends that the isolation be reduced to three, four, five days.
For his part, the Minister of Health of Catalonia, Josep María Argimon , has already exposed in several Interterritorial Health Councils his request to end the isolation of students and the confinement of entire classrooms in the face of five cases of Covid, which would be substantiated by eliminating the obligation that schoolchildren who test negative for Covid or who do not have symptoms have to keep a quarantine period.
For their part, the Balearic Islands, Extremadura or Castilla y León ask for ” prudence ” and wait to see what the expert technicians in Public Health recommend, who are already finalizing a proposal in this regard. The president of the Valencian Community, Ximo Puig, has opted that in the current state of the pandemic, with an “unstoppable” improvement, ” all restrictions must be relaxed, also quarantines” , although he has not offered a date and has stressed that it must be done “with prudence, because there are also admissions and people in the ICU”.
Greener seems another measure, the eventual withdrawal of the obligation to wear a mask in closed spaces within schools that the Spanish Association of Pediatrics launched earlier this week, with a calendar to start for students from 6 to 8 years old at the end of February to go advancing later by courses and upper ages.
This proposal is based on the evidence that infections in schools do not differ between children under six years of age, who are not obliged to use it, and those over that age, who are, so it is proposed to start withdrawing their mandatory use, also taking into account the learning difficulties that are being detected due to this complement.
At the moment, only the Community of Madrid has picked up the glove and its Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero , pointed out this Tuesday that the Public Health Commission should follow this recommendation and approve at its meeting this Thursday that it be possible to remove the mask in inside the classrooms.
However, it does not seem that this position is the majority at the moment. The Minister of Health avoided this Wednesday in the Senate to pronounce on whether or not she agrees with what the pediatricians are asking for, while communities such as Andalusia or Castilla-La Mancha ask for “caution” and “prudence” before making a decision of similar draft, since it would be the first time that it is allowed not to wear a mask in closed public spaces since its use became mandatory.