Canary Islands President, Ángel Víctor Torres, on Thursday gave some sense of hope for the weeks ahead that COVID-19 infections may have already reached their peak in the Archipelago.
At a press conference, Torres is reported to have pointed out that Wednesday last was the first time in this sixth wave of the pandemic when the 7-day accumulated incidence (AI7) had been seen to have “crossed paths” with the 14-day incidence (AI14), explaining that during the previous waves, every time this had happened a flattening of the contagion curve had already begun, with infection rates beginning to drop in the days and weeks that followed.
“Does that mean that we are at the peak and [the curve] begins to bend? Hopefully, that will be the evolution over the next few weeks,” he said.
As was reported yesterday, the daily declarations of infections has grown 12% in the last week and the Canary Islands are still at very high risk for indicators of accumulated incidence, calculated at 7 days and at 14 days.
The accumulated cases indicator for this last week stands at 1,350 per 100,000population, having increased on all the islands, but was particularly accentuated in recent days on Fuerteventura.
Torres once again highlighted the importance of vaccination, saying that mortality figures for a variant as contagious as omicron could have been “irreparable” without the high rate of vaccinations on the islands, and it would not be possible to “coexist -with it- with any normality”.
While it still remains to be seen what exactly will happen on the archipelago over coming days the general feeling, among Regional Government, seems to be that we may have started to turn a corner. With Central Government also trying to normalise rhetoric towards a virus that has ravaged society and economies over the last two years, in an effort to begin in earnest to rebuild.
That all said, front line clinicians and healthcare staff say that the hospitals are currently in crisis and have demanded clear emergency plans to help them deal with the extreme excess pressure, which has grown exponentially over the last week, while they are faced with growing hospitalisations and a death rate persisting in an upward trend, in spite of the lower percentage of patients who are severely affected.
Meanwhile in the tourist enclaves of Puerto Rico and Playa del Inglés many, but not all, bars and businesses in the hospitality industry appear to have started to ignore official advice, in such numbers that it has become near impossible to enforce or police. Town halls are doing little to prevent it. Collectively, it seems, the many foreign tourism entrepreneurs of the south have decided to forge ahead with a policy of minimal observance of the rules, preferring instead to promote some form of herd immunity, and to try to get back to business as early as they can.
One thing seems clear, the sixth wave’s exponential curve upwards is not quite done yet on Gran Canaria, but when it is it will likely fall almost as quickly as it grew.
While incidence in the general population may well be starting to peak, we will have to wait and see what the effect will be on the tourist areas; though as some are already pointing out, the south of Gran Canaria has always been exposed to bugs and infections brought in by tourists, only now most of those tourists are screened before they arrive. Many are of the opinion that if we are all going to get it sooner or later that we should simply aim to get it over and done with as soon as possible. Time will tell the story.
There are many economic hardships ahead, as a consequence of the last 22 months, and as we all learn to live with Coronavirus we all hope that this may be the beginning of the end, as pandemic-fatigue sets in leading people to start to ignore the rules, it makes them all but unenforceable, and we will all find out sooner or later if enough has been done already to allow us to really start to rebuild our lives and begin to work on what our future will now look like.
Meanwhile, most are trying every day to stay safe, look after each other, and try to keep moving forward.