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Spain’s official COVID-19 death toll tops 90,000

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MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 23: People wear masks outdoors in Madrid as Spain mandates face masks outdoors again due to rise in Covid-19 cases in Madrid, Spain on December 23, 2021. ( Burak Akbulut - Anadolu Agency )
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Jan 11, 2022 - 06:38 AM

MADRID (AA) – As the omicron-driven wave continues to surge in Spain, the official number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 90,000 on Monday.

Another 202 people were reported dead over the weekend, and hospitals are increasingly feeling the weight of the unprecedented number of infections.

Nearly 16,500 people are being treated for the disease in Spain, a figure that has doubled in less than three weeks.

In that same time frame, close to 2 million people have tested positive for the disease – approximately one-quarter of Spain’s nearly 7.5 million reported cases since the pandemic began.

While cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise, they remain significantly lower than in past waves thanks to vaccines and prior immunity.

During the worst point of Spain’s first devastating wave, 66,500 people were in the hospital and more than 1,000 people were dying each day.

Likewise, Spain’s true COVID-19 death toll is much higher, as thousands died of the disease in the spring of 2020 without testing positive for the virus.

According to data from a study of death certificates by Spain’s National Statistics Agency, Spain’s COVID-19 death toll is at least at 115,000.

However, the overwhelming majority of people died of COVID-19 before the majority of the population was vaccinated. It has taken six months for Spain’s official death toll to rise from 80,000 to 90,000.

As COVID-19 becomes less dangerous for the highly vaccinated Spanish population, the government is now mulling how to treat it as an “endemic virus” like the flu, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

“This is a debate that we are already trying to open at a European level,” he said in an interview with local broadcaster Cadena Ser.

Daily El Pais reports that the new system would mean the end of reporting all infections. Instead, coronavirus would be monitored in hospitals and healthcare centers like other common viral infections.

This paradigm shift is not expected to happen until after the sixth wave is over, however, which Sanchez predicts will not happen until February.

At the same time, Spain would have to come to a consensus with the rest of the European Union before changing reporting criteria.

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