Covid19 Crisis – Spain’s death toll rises by over 500, hospitals under pressure

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MADRID, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Spain’s death toll from COVID-19 rose by 513 on Friday to 58,319, in one of the highest one-day increases since the first wave of the pandemic, health ministry data showed.

It said 38,118 new infections had also been detected, off last week’s record of 44,357.

And pressure on hospitals continued to rise, with 44% of all intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

In another alarming sign, the Madrid region reported on Friday an outbreak in a nursing home that has caused 11 deaths and infected all its 48 residents, as well as 17 staff.

El Pais newspaper said the home, in the mountains near the capital, had escaped the deadly first wave that tore through care homes across Spain in March and April last year.

Meanwhile, doctors complained about recent delays in vaccine deliveries that forced several regions, including Madrid, to stop vaccinating new people from priority groups, such as medics, and only administer second shots to those who have already received a first dose.

“The inability…to deliver the necessary doses at the required speed has been a crushing blow, at least for health workers,” said Javier Marco, medical director of Madrid’s Isabel Zendal hospital, adding they again felt unprotected and “at the mercy of the pandemic for an unknown length of time”.

European countries are grappling with broad vaccine delays, at least temporarily, as all Western vaccine makers with approved shots – Moderna, Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech, and AstraZeneca – fall behind their initial delivery targets.

“We have been under tremendous pressure since March, with very bad living conditions, fearing that we might infect our families at any moment,” Marco said. “What keeps us going is the need society has for us.” (Reporting by Nathan Allen, Guillermo Martinez and Andrei Khalip; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Photo – COVID-19 patient Ruben Bimanuel rests at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Morales Meseguer Hospital in the coastal city of Murcia in eastern Spain, 29 January 2021. Thirty eight-year-old Bimanuel has lost 12 kilograms in a week and still cannot explain how he got COVID-19. ‘We have been living almost one hundred percent self-sufficiently since March 2020. I have no previous illness, I am young, I don’t smoke and I take all possible safety measures’ he explains to EFE from his bed at the ICU he was admitted two weeks ago due to his severe condition. EPA-EFE/Marcial Guillen

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