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Spain sets new record for daily COVID cases

Spain sets new record for daily COVID cases
Nearly 50,000 people test positive in one day as omicron rapidly becomes dominant strain

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA ) - Spain on Tuesday shattered its previous record for daily coronavirus cases, with the Health Ministry reporting 49,823 new infections as omicron has quickly become the dominant strain.

In just one week, omicron has jumped from representing 3.4% of cases to 47.2%, according to Health Ministry data.

Last Tuesday, Spain reported just over 26,000 infections.

The country’s previous record for daily cases was set on Jan. 21, although the number of true contagions may have been higher during the first wave in the spring last year, when testing was limited.

The extreme number of new infections is again putting pressure on Spain’s testing and health care infrastructure.

Rapid tests are sold out at pharmacies across the nation. The wait times to get PCR tests have also skyrocketed in many areas as people are both sick and hoping to test themselves before Christmas.

The primary care system is also being overwhelmed as family doctors are responsible for taking care of COVID-19 patients that are not hospitalized and doing much of the contact tracing.

However, Spain’s high vaccination rate – 90% of the population older than 12 is fully immunized – has kept hospitalizations and deaths low compared to previous waves.

Currently, 6% of Spain’s hospital beds and 16% of all intensive care units (ICUs) are in use by COVID-19 patients. When the previous record was set in January, 21% of all hospital beds and 36% of ICUs were being used to treat patients with the infectious disease.

In January, 1,285 people died in a week leading up to the peak. Now, 239 people have died over the past seven days.

Yet Spain's sixth wave of infections shows no signs of slowing down. Experts fear that the coming holiday season combined with the more contagious omicron variant and the already massive number of cases could trigger an unprecedented explosion of the virus.

On Wednesday, Spanish leaders will meet to discuss new measures, but most of the country continues to function normally with indoor masks and vaccine certificates as the main prevention measures.

Catalonia is the first Spanish region trying to reintroduce a curfew, which is pending the approval of a court.

source: News Feed
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