The rising too early of the mobility restrictions, relaxation (by citizens) of the security measures (the use of the mask and social distance) and a weak epidemiological surveillance system are the three possible causes that would explain why Spain is at the head of Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, consider researchers from the Group of Computational Biology and Complex Systems (BIOCOMSC) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (Can Ruti) in Badalona.
These researchers work with hypothesis and therefore they do not offer absolute truths. However, they have focused on these three aspects mentioned. The first of them (that Spain lifted mobility restrictions too soon) has been developed in the report ‘Analysis and prediction of covid-19 for EU-EFTA-United Kingdom and other countries: Discussion of the hypothesis that explains the high increase in the incidence of covid-19 in Spain ‘, which was sent last week to the European Commission (EC). BIOCOMSC scientists are now working on two other studies (one on the possible relaxation of public security measures and another on the insufficient epidemiological surveillance system) that will be published soon.
“The published report [sobre las restricciones de movilidad] is a first part of two other reports that we will send. We are investigating these hypotheses, we don’t have a definitive answer. At the moment, what we have seen is that countries that had an incidence of the virus well below the Spanish one and that have maintained the restrictions for longer have had a better evolution, “he explains Enric Álvarez, member of the BIOCOMSC group. According to him, “it seems that Spain is the sentinel [de la segunda oleada del covid-19]” and France, Belgium, Romania and the Netherlands “They are following in his wake.”
The “climb” we did not see in March
For Álvarez, the country is undoubtedly experiencing another wave of the pandemic, although not like the one in March. “Now we are seeing the rise that we did not see then, we see the magnitude of the second wave, Before, we only saw the tip of the iceberg. In Spain there is a strong community transmission, although we do not have to end as in March, with collapsed hospitals, “he says.
France, Belgium, Romania and the Netherlands, also very affected, they are following his “wake”
Researchers study the reason for this situation and believe that the lifting, possibly too early, of mobility restrictions (especially between provinces) would be, in any case, a “partial explanation”. “There are other hypotheses that we must investigate, as if in Spain there was a relaxation of security measures higher than in other countries or if, by June, Spain still did not have a strong epidemiological surveillance system: PCR tests, personnel to study the contacts of positive cases … “, explains Álvarez.” We need a reinforcement of the means of the personal of primary care and of public health. And a coordination of these trackers with social services, “he adds.
Experts insist on the importance of respecting the measures. On the one hand, they appeal individual responsibility: the use of the mask, do not shout if you do not wear a mask, social distance, avoid meeting more than 10 people. They also ask to respect the quarantines if there has been contact with a positive case. And that the Business force their workers to do so. “PCRs on contact with the infected person are not done to say that, if you are positive, you stay at home and, if not, you get rid. They are done to follow the chains of contagion: all contacts of positive cases must be isolated, “insists Álvarez.
The importance of respecting quarantines
The primary care has detected patients who were in contact with positive cases of coronavirus and who did not respect quarantine by testing negative in PCR. According to the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine (Camfic), this is not a majority phenomenon, but rather specific cases. But it is a problem that exists. “The PCR tells you if you are infected at the moment you take the test. It may be that a person today gives negative and positive two days later. Therefore, quarantines make sense to protect us from these situations,” he highlights. the member of the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (Sespas), Joan Ramon Villalbí.
Spain only detects
two contacts from each positive case, when they should be 10
But this situation is aggravated in those groups that live precariously, such as agricultural workers, who cannot afford to go two weeks without working. “This virus reveals some of our weaknesses as a society,” says Villalbí. And it warns that Spain “is not well”, since “Many of the positive case contacts remain uninvestigated.” “We are detecting a couple of contacts per case, when it should be 10 “. According to him, the first cause of transmission is family and then work, but the country still does not know “how many cases are infected.”