Health minister: Seventh Covid wave 'probable' but timing and severity uncertain
Researchers note rise in cases and hospitalizations is not reflected in ICU admissions
A seventh wave of the Covid pandemic in Catalonia is "probable", but the timing and severity of it cannot be predicted, the Catalan health minister said on Friday.
At a press briefing in Granollers, central Catalonia, Josep Maria Argimon maintained his preference for continuing to "normalize daily life," while keeping vigilant for new outbreaks.
The number of cases "is not the most important" aspect of monitoring the current situation, but rather the severity of cases and the impact they have on ICUs in hospitals, he said.
The minister warned that the pandemic was currently offering "some respite, but it is here," and that there were still many aspects of the virus that remain unknown.
Catalonia has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, now that there are virtually no measures remaining in force - face masks are only mandatory on public transport and in hospitals, health centers and care homes.
This is reflected to some degree in the twice-weekly Covid update from the health department, although with no general requirement to perform tests from March 28, comparing figures with earlier periods of the pandemic is difficult.
ICU admissions stable
The increases in cases and hospitalizations is not leading to a rise in the number of ICU admissions, Enric Álvarez, a member of the BIOCOMSC research group at UPC, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).
There are currently 940 Covid patients in hospital and 31 in ICUs, a number that has remained stable in recent days.
Álvarez believes that a seventh wave of the pandemic during the summer cannot be ruled out, which could lead to waves every six months, but said that if ICU occupation remained at current levels, it would be possible for life to continue with "the current degree of normalization."
The health minister, when asked about the situation in hospitals, said it was "very important" to be attentive to the most serious and critical patients.
Looking ahead, he noted that the pandemic is not over and that we will have to see what happens in the coming months, especially from autumn onwards, given that coronavirus is a seasonal virus.
Argimon was speaking at the inauguration of the Granollers Primary Care Emergency Center (CUAP), a new medical facility in the heart of the city.