The Government is preparing a macro study to find out the real number of cases in Spain
Health works, together with the INE and the Carlos III Health Institute, on a procedure to detect ‘seroprevalence’ in the Spanish population and thus know how long the coronavirus has passed
President Pedro Sánchez already announced it in his appearance this Saturday. Although the state of alarm for the coronavirus lasted until April 26 – and it is taken for granted that there will be new extensions – the Executive is already working on the next phase, which could begin to be applied in a few weeks. This process of ‘desiccation’ or ‘transition’ will mean the modification of the movement restrictions imposed since mid-March in Spain when the state of sanitary alarm came into force to gradually recover part of the country’s normal activity.
A transition scenario that will be sustained on three pillars: the premature isolation of asymptomatic cases or those with weak conditions; the use of generalized masks as well as mass testing. However, for this to be effective and to reduce the margin of a second great wave of infections, it is necessary to really know the real number of infections in Spain. In this sense, Maria Jesus Sierra, Fernando Simón’s substitute at the head of the coronavirus monitoring committee, explained that Health is already working on a ‘macro-study’ together with “INE and the Carlos III Health Institute” to be able to know the specific number of Spaniards who have passed the Covid-19.
The problem with official figures today is that diagnostic blindness is occurring. As Sierra explained this Saturday, the tests are focusing on the most serious patients as well as on health personnel and essential personnel. This means that you only have proof of the positives. Something that creates statistical biases, for example, in the actual case fatality rate of the disease.
Therefore, Sierra explained that these studies are being prepared to detect ‘seroprevalence’ and to know what part of the population is immunized. “According to studies and research, those who pass the disease generate a fairly high level of antibodies,” he said. “So they are immunized for at least a while.” On the real scope of those affected by Covid-19, he has avoided giving a specific answer and has given as an example the report of the Imperial College that indicated that up to 15% of Spaniards could have already passed the disease.
Hotels and masks
The doctor added that the Government works both to obtain the antibody tests as well as to increase its ability to perform PCR, a test “with a high degree of sensitivity.” He added that “the objective is the early detection of all cases and their isolation” in that phase of ‘transition’.
In this sense, he has confirmed that the president has asked the communities for a list of establishments and hotels in which the asymptomatic could be isolated during the months in which they move towards a scenario of normality since there is not always “an option of effective insulation ” at home. In addition to maintaining some rules of social distancing and respiratory hygiene, Sierra explained, it will also be necessary to make general use of the masks, since they exercise an additional barrier to the transmission of the virus.