There is a Corona crisis in Spain. As in spring, Madrid is again the place in Spain where there are the most new corona infections. Working-class neighborhoods are particularly affected – which is no coincidence.
It almost seems as if there is something for free in Madrid – and to a certain extent it is also true. People queue at the health center in Fuenlabrada, a suburb in the south of Madrid. They responded to the call to be tested for corona free of charge – even if they have no symptoms.
“We are doing PCR smears here in order to find those in the population who are infected but show no symptoms of the disease,” says Antonio Zapatero, Deputy Minister of Health for the Madrid region, and adds: “These people are all symptom-free.”
The concern is that some of these people may get infected without knowing it, thus infecting others. The testers were traveling south of Madrid all week. Depending on the municipality, they took between 400 and more than 1500 samples. There were no official results on Friday.
It is mostly working-class neighborhoods like Fuenlabrada that are currently responsible for the poor numbers. Here people often live together in a small space. Working on the laptop in the home office – only very few can afford this luxury here.
Many who live here often have to drive halfway through the city to earn their living. So Zapatero is concerned that the virus could soon spread to other neighborhoods. No other city currently worries Spanish epidemiologists as much as Madrid. But things are not looking good in the rest of Spain either.
“It is quite possible that a much bigger wave is imminent”
“It is obvious that the situation is not good,” said Quique Bassat, an epidemiologist from Barcelona. “The number of infections is increasing – and in a way that makes it seem impossible that we can contain it with the current means. It is quite possible that a much larger wave of infections is ahead of us.”
From Thursday to Friday, more than 3800 new cases were reported in Spain. However, much more is being tested. And especially young people are affected, who usually have mild disease courses. The hospitals in Madrid are slowly filling up with Corona patients again, but the situation is not comparable to the situation in spring when the hospitals were overcrowded, says Antonio Zapatero.
The regional conservative government had put pressure on it
And what could Madrid have done better in retrospect? “I think Madrid got back to normal too quickly.” Although there was a three-month curfew and the economy suffered, “the opening happened too quickly.” Now it “depends very much on the behavior of the population that the numbers do not continue to rise,” said the minister of the regional government.
It was above all the conservative regional government of Madrid that put pressure on to relax the restrictions as quickly as possible. The opposition accuses the government of barely preparing for a second wave of infections: Instead of working flat out on a strategy and creating resources, the government let it slide.
In fact, there is a lack of “tracers” in Madrid today, for example – people who track chains of infection. At some point the regional government was forced to look for volunteers at the universities to take on this work. Appropriately trained soldiers will probably come to the rescue now.
“You shouldn’t have let it get that far”
The region is already appealing to the residents of the affected districts to stay at home if possible and to only leave the house in exceptional cases.
Many in line here believe that this is just the preliminary stage for a new curfew: “I think we are well on the way there,” says one woman, adding: “If this is for security for everyone then that’s the way it is. But I don’t think it should have gotten that far. “
One man, on the other hand, thinks that Spain will slide into the abyss if there is another curfew. “I don’t think that will happen.
If so, then maybe for individual neighborhoods. Many people just can’t afford to stay at home. If they are healthy and stick to the rules, they should go to work. Otherwise Spain is soon a dead land. “
The regional government apparently sees it similarly: It absolutely wants to avoid a new curfew for the Corona crisis in Spain, Madrid. But if the numbers continue to increase as before, the restrictions could become significantly more far-reaching again.