The primary care rate for flu drops for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic and stands at 387.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the first seven days of the year, according to the latest report from the Surveillance System of the Carlos Health Institute. III. The decline in the flu curve in turn has an impact on the global incidence of acute respiratory infections, which also drops to 935.1 cases, 10% less than at the end of December.

With the new data available, which comes one day after the Ministry of Health ordered the mandatory use of the mask in all health centers and hospitals in the country, except for those communities that had a two-week incidence of acute respiratory infection in descent, there are four councils that can go from mandate to recommendation. Andalusia (459.6 cases), the Canary Islands (1,122.6), Cantabria (1,243) and Extremadura (674.8) have reversed the curve and can take advantage of the option given by the department headed by Mónica García. Euskadi and Melilla are in the same situation, although they have not presented data, they were already following that trend in previous weeks.

The prerogative that Health gave to the communities to go from obligation to recommendation, if they considered it, after two weeks of decline, raises situations such as that some with higher incidences can withdraw the obligation, while others with lower rates must maintain it. For example, the Canary Islands, with numbers above 1,100 cases, could remove it if they wanted, while Catalonia, which is at 941.5, must maintain it. In both cases, their respective ministries had implemented the use of face masks in health centers before the ministry indicated it.

The Secretary of State for Health, Javier Padilla, justified in an interview in this apparent contradiction in which the ministry has chosen to take “the trend” as a guide because “in general terms, the flu, when it starts to go down, that decline continues.”

Despite this week’s slight decline, Padilla himself considered this Wednesday that the curve would continue to rise for at least a couple more weeks, a theory shared by the experts consulted by this editorial team. In fact, the new report was closed before returning to school and does not include data from the Balearic Islands, which he has not presented for three weeks; Murcia and La Rioja, which do not share them in Sivira; Ceuta and melilla; and Euskadi, which according to its own accounts would have risen this week.

The communities that had independently adopted the mandatory use of masks in health centers and hospitals were Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, Aragón, the Canary Islands and Asturias. Except for the Canary Islands and Cantabria, all have increased respiratory infections.

What increased during the first week of the year was the rate of hospitalizations for severe acute respiratory infection, around 10%, up to 33.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. And the incidence of covid-19 in primary care, which went from 93 cases to 98.8.


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