Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Spain seeks new approach to COVID as cases continue to break records

Health Ministry mulling whether to treat virus like infections once current wave subsides

Alyssa McMurtry   | 13.01.2022
Spain seeks new approach to COVID as cases continue to break records Daily life in Madrid

OVIEDO, Spain

Spain reported a new daily record Wednesday for coronavirus infections and its health minister said the country may begin treating COVID-19 like other viral infections once the current wave subsides. 

“The situation is no longer the same as in previous waves. High vaccine coverage, the rising presence of omicron and our infection rates are progressively changing the epidemiology of COVID-19,” Carolina Darias said at a news conference. “That’s why we need to start considering shifting to a new system of monitoring and controlling COVID-19, but not before this wave is over.”

Spain is leading the push for other European countries to consider how to live with COVID-19 like other endemic viruses.

Darias said Spain has already been in contact with European leaders to establish a common system.

She said preliminary signs point to Spain’s sixth wave nearing a peak but cases continue smashing records.

The Health Ministry reported more than 170,000 daily infections Wednesday, up 42,000 compared to the same day last week, and a test positivity rate of nearly 40%.

The country’s hospitals are increasingly stretched by the omicron variant-driven sixth wave. Nearly one-quarter of available intensive care unit beds are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Another 125 people reportedly died from the virus, a slight increase from last week.


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