Spain Suffers Under Coronavirus
Spain has been mercilessly invaded by the novel Coronavirus.
An entire national lockdown is in effect, with Spain essentially frozen for the next 2 weeks.
Yesterday was the deadliest day in Spain’s short history of dealing with the virus, with almost 900 deaths and a death toll that is now approaching 7,000. Spain’s total infected has climbed to almost 80,000 and Spain now has one of the highest Coronavirus mortality rates globally. Spain’s elderly population with many pre-existing illnesses has been another natural killing ground for the deadly Coronavirus.
Mortality rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Spain as of March 22, 2020, by age group, Statista
The National Statistics Institute conducted a study last year that found more than two million Spanish citizens were over the age of 65 and living alone in Spain. This amounts to almost half of all of the 4.7 million single-person households in the country. Of those two million elderly Spanish citizens, more than 850,000 of them are over the age of 80. Furthermore, nearly 400,00 citizens in Madrid are over the age of 80. “The army has seen some totally abandoned elderly people – even some who were dead in their beds,” said Margarita Robles, Spain’s Defense Minister.
When announcing further lockdowns for the Spanish people yesterday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said, “These are very tough, sad, bitter days. But they are decisive because they are the ones in which we have to measure ourselves. And then we will have an entire life to remember that in the difficult times, resisting, united, Spain made the grade.”
Such nationalistic optimism is desperately needed by a quarantined and scared people. Many are losing hope and are losing their nerves as they stay confined to small spaces with their loved ones or painfully alone.
Having everyday as a weekend day becomes quite monotonous, even for the laziest members of society. “We need to reduce mobility and convert all of the days of the week into Sundays,” was the message from Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz. But, even with the nation at a standstill, the cases are mounting and are filling up Spain's hospital capacity.
A serious issue facing Spain is that their 4,400 ICU beds are now completely filled up, so the new sick are finding hospitals that have neither beds nor available healthcare workers to treat them.
Doctors are being forced to decide who lives and who dies. This is a painful choice for any individual, one that will certainly have lingering mental effects on our healthcare workers for years to come. Spanish hospitals are being described by the medical workers as war zones, this is not much different from the descriptions coming out of New York City or the Lombardy region of Italy.
“The fundamental problem now is to ensure that our ICUs aren’t saturated,” Health Ministry spokesman Fernando Simon said at a press briefing yesterday in Madrid. But, he did offer some hope, as Spain is seeing a decrease in the growth of new infections and mortality rates. Of course, Italy’s started to slow before it jumped again. Health Ministry Spokesman Simon also said of the number of Coronavirus cases in Spain, “It seems the evolution has stabilized and could even be starting to fall.”
As Spain looks for light at the end of the tunnel, America is still at the beginning of the infestation. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said on CNN that U.S. deaths could reach 200,000.
According to La Vanguardia Spain’s morgues are completely overloaded with the dead and the Madrid government is preparing temporary morgues as a remedy for the lack of space at hospital morgues and funeral homes. In fact, about half of Spain's total deaths have been in the capital city of Madrid. Dense cities are the natural breeding ground for the deadly Coronavirus.
Madrid has had to turn its lavish convention center, the Ifema into a makeshift hospital, as New York has done with its Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Madrid badly needs the extra few thousand beds that the convention center will provide as its healthcare infrastructure is past the point. Nurses complain of using bags for protective gear, patients are sleeping on the floors and there is a complete lack of medicine.
Doctor Ana Giménez of Madrid’s Infanta Leonor hospital said, “Mine is supposed to be a 265-bed hospital, and today it has 700 patients. Hundreds of people are sitting in chairs or lying on the floor… all of the hospitals in Madrid are absolutely overwhelmed. We don’t have anything. We don’t have masks, we don’t have gloves, we don’t have waterproof gowns. We have nothing, we are naked against the coronavirus.”