Are we in a third wave of coronavirus?

Publication: Saturday January 2, 2021 4:00 PM

2021 begins amid an upward trend in coronavirus infections. In the past seven days, cases have multiplied: last week there were more than 73,000 while at the beginning of December there were 45,000.

With the numbers on the table, January could turn out to be one of the worst months in the pandemic, along with March, as a third wave could start without breaking the second.

Daniel López Acuña, former director of the WHO, warns: “If more restrictive measures are not taken, we will see an increase in incidence in the first days of January and that will put us squarely in the third wave.”

The year 2020 ended with more than 1,928,000 infections in Spain, of which 271,821 were recorded in December, data very similar to that of September, when the second wave began.

In the words of López Acuña, we are facing “a third wave going up on the crest of the second and that will make things more difficult”.

José Antonio López, director of neurovirology at UAM, underlines that the difference now is that “we do not start from the data that existed during the passage from the first to the second wave, with less than 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants” .

Alarming figures of the cumulative incidence

Today, the cumulative incidence is at alert levels and continues to grow: it has gone from 246 cases to nearly 280 in just four days. “The Balearic Islands have seen an increase of 120% and communities like Catalonia and Madrid by 60%,” explains López Acuña. This figure is also high in Extremadura, in the Valencian Community or in Castilla la Mancha.

Regarding hospital pressure, there has been a slight increase in the occupancy of ICU beds since the week of December 24. A situation that could be affected by the arrival of the new strain, just as virulent. “This translates into more hospitalizations, more intensive care patients and more deaths,” warns José Antonio López.

If analyzed in number of deaths, December records 5,326 deaths and only the hardest months of the pandemic remain to come: March, April and November, peak of the second wave.

“We must maintain this battle against the virus, its transmission and the curve,” insists López Acuña, recalling that the effects of vaccination will not begin to be appreciated for a few months.

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