By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Spain has registered more than 23,000 deaths since July, according to data released by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics on Wednesday.
The data suggests the second wave of the pandemic has been deadlier than official statistics show. The Health Ministry has reported just over 12,000 COVID-19 deaths since July 1.
The excess deaths figure is a rough calculation based on mortality averages over the last four years.
Throughout 2020, around 70,000 more people in Spain died than expected. Just over 42,000 of those deaths are attributed to COVID-19.
The rest of the deaths could be attributed to various causes. Some deadly cases of COVID-19 could have gone unconfirmed, while other pathologies that didn’t receive proper attention due to lack of diagnosis or over-pressured hospitals could account for many more.
For instance, there was a two-fold increase in the rate of in-hospital mortality for serious heart attacks this spring in Spain compared to the year before, according to a study published in the Spanish Journal of Cardiology.
Another reason for the discrepancy between the two numbers could be that the Health Ministry has yet to report the full number of deaths. Earlier this month, the Ministry added around 1,300 more deaths to the official data that took place before May.
The last month has been the deadliest of the second wave, with more than 8,500 excess deaths.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 351 more deaths from the disease, down from Tuesday’s second wave record-breaking figure of 431.
On the other hand, contagions appear to be consolidating their downward trend. On Wednesday, Spain reported 15,300 new coronavirus infections – up over 2,000 from Tuesday, but down by nearly 4,000 compared to last Wednesday and around 9,000 from two weeks ago.
The pressure is slowly beginning to ease on hospitals, with the number of active COVID-19 patients dropping by 600 on Wednesday. Still, 15.5% of all the country’s hospital beds and 32% of all intensive care units are occupied by COVID-19 patients.