SPAIN became the first Western European country to top 1 million COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, October 21, doubling its tally in just six weeks despite a series of new measures to control the second wave of the virus.
After slowing to an almost standstill in the wake of Spain’s strict March-to-June lockdown, the infection rate accelerated to frequently exceed 10,000 cases a day from late August, hitting a new peak of more than 16,000 last week.
Many blame impatience to be rid of state-imposed restrictions meant to contain coronavirus contagion or weariness with social distancing guidelines.
“We are less responsible, we like partying, meeting with family,” said banker Carolina Delgado. “We haven’t realised the only way… is social distancing, simple things like not gathering with many people, wearing masks even if you meet friends.”
A rushed exit from lockdown before tracing systems had been put in place let the transmission get out of hand faster than in other countries, said Dr Rafael Bengoa, co-founder of Bilbao’s Institute for Health and Strategy.
While daily deaths have been hovering around 100 – a far cry from the peak of nearly 900 registered in late March – hospital admissions have jumped 20 per cent nationwide in two weeks and 70 per cent in the affluent northeastern region of Catalonia alone.
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