A group of engineers predicts that from April 7 there will be a significant growth in Covid-19 infections as a result of Holy Week and, therefore, recommends that during the next few weeks all the vaccines arriving in Spain are dedicated to putting the first dose for people over 70 years old with the aim of reducing the number of deaths.
This is stated in a report prepared by four professors of the Polytechnic University that have already published several scientific analyzes based on data from detected cases of coronavirus and actual deaths from the pandemic. Together they make up a Dynamic Mathematical Model team to facilitate critical decisions calculating future consequences of actions carried out coordinated by Rafael Cascón.
An analysis of what happened during the festive periods of the last six months leads him to warn that “a real significant growth of infections is foreseeable in the following days” to Holy Week, although they estimate that “until April 7 we probably will not have real evidence” because the collection and updating of information from the autonomous communities usually arrives late in these cases.
They emphasize that the rate of evolution of the pandemic, which indicates whether it is increasing or decreasing depending on whether or not it exceeds number one, is currently “significantly above” that figure. Therefore, they calculate that this trend will continue “one or two weeks” above, since “the decrease is not immediate” even if drastic restrictions are adopted.
These mathematical modeling experts assume that cases will continue to increase despite the fact that the autonomous communities have tightened some of their measures during Holy Week and that geographical mobility is very limited by the perimeter closures between regions.
However, they point out that these geographical limitations “do not seem effective in reducing” the reproduction rate. “when there are festive periods”, As they declare, it has been demonstrated with previous bridges such as those of October 12, December 6, December 25, January 1, January 6 and March 19.
“Although they do seem to reduce some associated factors to mobility, they do not prevent the growth of this ratio, which increases despite this reduction in mobility (probably due to greater social interaction on those holidays) “, they emphasize.
Change vaccination strategy
Therefore, given the expected rebound in the pandemic after Easter, they ask the health authorities to modify the current vaccination guidelines to give top priority to the supply of first dose to people over 70 years old, which are the ones with the highest mortality rate.
According to the latest report from the Carlos III Health Institute, with data updated until March 30, andl 85.4% of the deceased in Spain due to the Covid-19 pandemic they were people over 70 years old. In fact, 64.8% of those who have lost their lives were over 80 years old and 20.6% were in their seventies.
The recommendation of the engineers, from the statistical point of view, is to allocate the more than 3 million doses of vaccines that are arriving in Spain these days to vaccinate those over 70 years of age and drastically reduce serious cases and deaths. They understand that “this enormous volume of vaccines could be used to administer almost exclusively first doses to the most vulnerable and thus significantly minimize the mortality due to this fourth wave “.
For this, they are especially committed to postpone “in these two weeks” the provision of the second dose to less vulnerable groups and even the first dose to those who “have already suffered from the disease”, since in this way a larger vulnerable population that has not yet begun to be vaccinated could be reached.
“This would allow to practically complete the vaccination with the first dose of the group of majors of 80 years”
“This would make it possible to practically complete the vaccination with the first dose in the group over 80 years of age and even advance significantly with those over 75 years in the first dose.” In addition, they propose “Really raise the AstraZeneca age limit to 75, administering said vaccine in the group of 70-75 years and postponing the vaccination of those under 65 “because” their risk is approximately one third. “
Looking at what happened in other countries, they believe that the provision of a first dose of vaccines has shown “great effectiveness”, especially in the reduction of hospitalizations (between 80% and 94%) and deaths. They add that by temporarily postponing the second dose to apply the first to more people, as has happened in the United Kingdom, “the reduction in mortality has been much faster even in periods when infections were stable.”
Given that right now there are thousands of older people who are being given the second dose of the vaccine, they argue that the postponement they propose for the next two weeks “should be understood as an exceptional circumstance, given the lack of doses and a foreseeable increase in cases, and logically it should not exceed the period between doses that health authorities understand guarantees the effectiveness of the vaccine. “