Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Spain: New COVID infections plummet, deaths still high

Nation has not consistently reported fewer than 10,000 infections daily since early September

Alyssa McMurtry   | 01.12.2020
Spain: New COVID infections plummet, deaths still high

OVIEDO, Spain

Spain saw a sharp drop in new coronavirus infections Tuesday with 8,257 new cases, but the Health Ministry confirmed 442 deaths, its second-highest daily surge during the second wave.

The last time Spain saw such a small daily increase in infections was Oct. 13 after a long weekend in which the number of tests decreased significantly. Prior to that, a lower number of new cases was not recorded since Sept. 1.

Hospitalizations also decreased slightly Tuesday, but the official death toll saw a sharp increase and sits at 45,511.

The drop in infections has been largely due to restrictions including mobility limits and curfews. Rules vary in each region and several parts of Spain have closed businesses like bars and restaurants to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread.

Although measures have helped reduce contagion, free up hospitals and save lives, the economic pain continues to run deep for many.

A study published by the Bank of Spain estimates between 6% and 10% of businesses will not survive the pandemic because of financial insolvency.

Furthermore, the Central Bank found 40% of companies are suffering from elevated financial pressure in 2020, compared to 14% in 2019.

The economic pain is particularly hard on small businesses in the hospitality sector. Owners of bars and restaurants in Palencia have threatened to reopen doors Friday, with or without permission from health authorities.

"We recognize it's disobedience, but it's civic, pacifist and necessary to keep our families and businesses afloat," said Palencia hospitality platform in a statement. "If the state tries to shut us down, we'll be armed with our electricity, heating and mortgage bills."

According to a new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report, Spain is experiencing the second deepest recession of 46 countries analyzed. Only Argentina is expected to perform worse this year.

The report suggests Spain's GDP will fall by 11.6% in 2020 and will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

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