Restrictions "take effect": EPG drops by 54 and R number falls to 1.12

On the other hand, hospitalisations (160 new admissions) and ICU patients (16 more than yesterday) are on the rise

The latest balance of Salut is 3,545 new confirmed cases of covid-19; the total number of infections now stands at 241,569. There have also been 66 new Covid-19 deaths, with the total standing at 14,140 deaths due to covid-19.

The pandemic's Effective Potential Growth (EPG), which surpassed the 900 mark on Saturday, continues the downward trend of yesterday: it shows a slight drop again (54 lower) and now stands at 835. The incidence over the last 14 days continues to rise and now stands at 780.17 (10.17 more than yesterday), while the rate of contagion (R number) decreases: from yesterday's 1.21 it now stands at 1.12. This rate measures the speed of reproduction of the virus in the last seven days, calculating how many new infections can be generated on average from a single contagion. According to experts, the goal is to reduce this value to below 1.

With these data in hand, the head of the Catalan Health Department, Marc Ramentol, has stated that the first restrictive measures taken more than 15 days ago "are having an effect", especially after observing the slowdown in the spread of the virus but it is still "far from being the time for optimism", because in hospitals and health centres the tension "continues to grow". "The impact is not yet reflected in the healthcare network and the sustainability of this network is our gold standard when deciding to de-escalate," he said in an interview with SER Catalunya. This has also been confirmed by the head of the infectious disease service at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Benito Almirante, who said that hospitals are the last place where the improvement of indicators will be noticed. "We are really very concerned," said Admiral. According to data from the Department of Health, the number of people admitted to hospitals has risen by 160 (there are 2,687) and the number of patients in ICUs is also growing: today there are 481, 16 more than yesterday.

What is needed, then, is to reduce the Rt below 1, because this will mean that each person infected by covid-19 will infect less than one person. "This is the first step in a very long chain", explained Clara Prats, from the Grup de Biologia Computacional i Sistemes Complexos at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya's physics department. It won't be until after a week that the effects on hospital pressure will begin to be seen, she said.

It's "early" to talk about total confinement

Before taking new decisions and restricting mobility even further, experts want to see how the data evolve with the measures that have already been approved. In statements to Catalunya Ràdio, the head of epidemiology at the Hospital Clínic, Antoni Trilla, has asked for "patience" until the change in the indicators translates into a drop in hospital pressure, which he estimates will be in two weeks. For this reason, he has said that it is "soon" to talk about a second total lockdown.

"Looking at the data, home confinement is the most effective, but there are more aspects that need to be taken into account," said Prats. In this sense, Admiral has advanced that confining the entire population "would be efficient but never just two weeks," but at least it would have to be "four or six". Ramentol expressed doubts about the measure: "I am not sure that we are prepared to assume again the economic and social cost that it would entail. We have to find a balance between respecting society's vitality and containing the epidemic," he said.

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