Day 14 – Sunday 29th March
The end of week two in isolation and time to check in on the statistic. This has become a morbid fascination for many watching the number of cases and deaths rise each day. We’re hoping to see the curve finally peak and start to go down, because we know there will be no end to this quarantine until those numbers are in control. Unfortunately there is no control in sight at the moment. The numbers of deaths in Spain and Madrid particularly have steadily risen. As of Sunday night there were 78,797 confirmed cases in Spain of which 22,677 are in Madrid. 6528 people have died across the country, 3082 have died in Madrid hospitals.
There is some room for hope. The number of daily new cases in Madrid seems to be plateauing around the 1200 mark. Of course this means nothing in reality because, like most countries, Spain is unable to test everyone showing symptoms. The official statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. 640k tests were ordered from China to distribute amongst health staff and the elderly. These tests were supposed to give a rapid response within 15 minutes, as opposed to the current method done on the hospital labs which takes 4 hours. Unfortunately they didn’t work and were only accurate 30% of the time. They’ve had to be sent back.
What this means is that the official figures only include those people who have been hospitalised with the virus, or those showing strong symptoms who have been in contact with a known case. Everyone else showing mild symptoms or getting through this illness at home are not being counted as far as I’m aware. According to the press even the numbers of deaths only include those who died in hospital. They do not include anyone who died at home or in residential care, which we already know has happened in a number of care homes as the army found their bodies.
So the basic gist is that we have no real visibility at the moment of whether the peak of this virus has been reached, and like many governments we’re reliant on mathematical modelling to predict the true picture. In response the Spanish government has now sent military planes to China to bring back sufficient and accurate tests and also to source additional medical equipment. These planes should return today. Various companies in Spain have also been charged with manufacturing key medical supplies here. This is no different from other countries in Europe. There aren’t enough supplies in the world for us all, so additional manufacturing is key, but takes time.
The Government also announced a tightening of the quarantine rules. Previously you were allowed to go to work if you were unable to work at home. Now all industries have been closed except those considered critical like health and food provision. As I write this blog on Monday morning the incessant drilling that has been my companion for the last two weeks, from the construction sight at the Santander offices next door, has stopped. Blissful silence reigns. I have not seen either the urbanisation’s gardeners or handyman today, all of whom were working previously. The security guards are still on patrol though.
What we tend to forget when looking at the various statistics is that these are real people, not just numbers on a page. Each one is trauma for some family out there, something that is easy to forget when it’s not your own. However this week has brought the virus somewhat closer to home for me as people I know are caught in the covid-19 web. I now have friends with the virus, thankfully not serious enough to need hospital treatment. I’m also aware of relatives of friends who are in hospital and no news yet as to whether they will survive or not. My daily conversations and conference calls are becoming more tense as this disease closes in on us all. The numbers are clear, however incomplete, Madrid is the epicentre of covid-19 in Spain and I have no doubt we will all be touched in some way before this quarantine is over.