Experts foresee confinements in Madrid due to the avalanche of contagions

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The Community of Madrid now focuses all eyes. Coronavirus transmission is out of control in some areas, especially in lower-income neighborhoods and populations. The regional authorities have taken a step forward, recommending this Friday do not leave home or travel if it is not essential, in a message that is misleading. Several experts believe that it is very likely that some type of confinement, even partial, will have to be imposed in the coming days in the Madrid region, although it is necessary to declare the state of alarm.

In Los Almendrales, a neighborhood in the Usera district, one of the poorest in Madrid, the incidence of the virus is 1,000 cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days and in the whole of Usera, 500. They are a time bomb located in the most populated metropolitan area and with more interconnections with the rest of Spain. In the Community of Madrid the index is 313 and in Spain as a whole 149, the highest in Europe.

More than 8,000 infections

Things are going badly and if the contagions are not stopped there will be many deaths. That was said on Thursday by government spokesman Fernando Simón, hinting with data and references that the main hot potato is now in Madrid. In the data of the Ministry of Health they have been added this Friday another 8,148 reported infections, of which 3,650 have been diagnosed in the last 24 hours, a third of them in the Community of Madrid, which has notified 1,199.

How to deal with the proliferation of a virus that has not been able to stop before? The Deputy Minister of Health, Antonio Zapatero, the man of confidence that the regional president Isabel ayuso put at the forefront of the anticovid strategy, recommended this Friday in statements to various media that “Madrileños avoid unnecessary trips” and that “as many as possible stay at home”, although in some of his speeches he limited the advice to the inhabitants of the most affected areas. Of course, without specifying what these are.

A message of this scope was launched by the Generalitat when a few weeks ago the epidemic began to get out of control in Catalonia but it was the president himself, Quim Torra, who was in charge of invoking the responsibility of the Catalans. Ayuso has not appeared for several days while the virus roams freely in the territory of its responsibility.

Affordable care pressure

Apart from the recommendation, Zapatero pointed out that other more drastic measures were being studied, among which confinement was not on the table, nor that it is partial to some neighborhood, district or population, because it is “very difficult to apply as it is in such an interrelated metropolitan area.” A decision of this magnitude does not believe that it is necessary “as long as the healthcare pressure is manageable and for now it is”.

Madrid is already leading the number of people hospitalized for covid-19, with 1,245, compared to 978 in Catalonia or 512 in Aragon. These numbers wouldn’t be important if they weren’t growing day after day. Three Madrid hospitals reported this week that they were postponing scheduled operations and releasing appointments to accommodate the foreseeable increase in infected.

Avoidable deaths

Zapatero’s argument squeaks any expert that comes to mind. “Must anticipate with measures before the contagions turn into income and deaths, otherwise in Madrid there will be deaths in the next 14 days that could have been avoided, “he replies José Martínez Olmos, Former Secretary of State for Health of the socialist government that faced the influenza A epidemic.

For this professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health, the earlier containment measures are applied, the more effective they will be, especially in view of the prospect of a future return to work, which can make the risk “explosive”. Olmos believes that they can be surgical, limited to the most affected areas, or to the community as a whole and that for this it would be necessary to decree a state of alarm specifically in these territories. It will not be easy, he admits, that a community that criticized the state of alarm for months now dares to request it.

Daniel López Codina, The researcher from the Computational Biology and Complex Systems group (BIOCOMSC) believes that if Madrid continues in the current dynamics of uncontrolled virus expansion and current measures do not work, it would be necessary to opt for partial confinements, whether they are limited to certain buildings, neighborhoods or populations, or even time limits, establishing night curfews.

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