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Nowhere near Covid-19 “herd immunity” in Spain or Canary Islands

Nowhere near Covid-19 “herd immunity” in Spain or Canary Islands

According to preliminary data from a seroprevalence study, measuring the level of the novel corona virus covid-19 pathogen in the population, as measured in blood serum, undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), only 1.4% of the province of Las Palmas and 2.1% of Santa Cruz de Tenerife residents, in the Canary Islands, have developed antibodies to the coronavirus since the pandemic began, which extrapolates to an average of just 1.8% of those living in the archipelago who have developed the tell-tale signs of having had the virus up until now.

According to the results from this first wave of the seroprevalence study, having tested a sample of 2,324 people in the Canary Islands, 1,077 men and 1,247 women, 2% of the men tested have had the disease, compared to 1.5% of the women.

These first exploratory results reveal that probably 5% of the people in Spain as a whole have been in contact with the virus causing Covid-19, with no appreciable differences between age or sex, but several clear geographical differences: tested infection rates reached as high as 14.2% in Soria, 13.5% in Cuenca, 12.6% in Ávila, 11.6% in Albacete and 11.3% in Madrid.

Spanish provinces, such as Las Palmas, to have seen a projected infection rate of less then 2% also include Murcia, also with 1.4%; Huelva, 1.5%; Tarragona 1.6%; Cadiz 1.7%; Almería 1.8%; La Coruña 1.8% and Asturias 1.8%, data to which are added those of Ceuta, 1.1% and Melilla, 1.9%.

These are the initial results revealed from the first macro-study of its type in Spain, which began on April 27 with tests in more than 36,000 homes to start to measure the level of immunity of the people in Spain, against the virus which was today presented by the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, and Science Minister, Pedro Duque, along with the directors of the study.

The Minister of Health explained that there is nothing like “herd immunity” in Spain – which requires around 60% of the population to have the antibodies – according to these preliminary data, saying also that the de-escalation plan was developed based on this hypothesis, and so Illa has confirmed that the Spanish Government currently has no reasons to make changes to the de-escalation plan underway because it was designed around the very same idea, that in Spain there is no herd immunity. That is why the de-escalation of confinement is being carried out asymmetrically from province to province.

“Therefore, in principle, due to these results, there is no need to vary the planned work scheme”, he stressed, although he admitted that “there is always flexibility” and each phase can be adapted to how the epidemic is expressed in the different territories of Spain.

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