Spain has again suffered a record breaking day of coronavirus deaths, with 950 people killed by the disease in the last 24 hours.
It is the third consecutive day of record numbers in the country, with 849 deaths on Tuesday, 864 deaths on Wednesday and 950 deaths between Wednesday and today.
The new toll also brings the country’s total fatalities to over 10,000, rising from 9,053 on Wednesday to 10,003 on Thursday.
The number of new cases has also increased by 8,102 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 102,136 to 110,238, but the lowest rate in all cases so far – a sign that the lockdown measures taken nearly three weeks ago are working.
That prompted Health Minister Salvador Ella to declare that the country has reached the peak of the infection curve, while still warning of ‘many difficult weeks ahead’.
In Spain, 950 people have died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the highest number of deaths in a day ever, bringing the total number of deaths from 9,053 to 10,003
Spain also registered another 8,102 infections in the last 24 hours, which increased the total from 102,136 to 110,238, but the lowest so far as the number of infections is decreasing
Healthcare workers take a coronavirus patient from her home to an ambulance in Segovia, Spain
An increase of 8,102 is an increase of 7.9 percent from the previous day’s figures, beating Monday’s previous daily low of 8.1 percent.
The rate of increase was 42.7 percent on March 13, the day before the closure was implemented, and rose to 200 percent during the crisis.
Reducing the rate of infection is key to defeating the virus as the amount of compounds increases every day the day before.
That means that a 40 percent increase in cases early in the outbreak might make just a few hundred extra people sick, but the same percentage later, tens of thousands of people can get sick at once.
Those sudden increases have led to health systems becoming overwhelmed, which in turn increases the number of people dying when important equipment like fans runs out.
While Spain may have peaked the infection curve, deaths are expected to continue to rise as those new infections penetrate already busy hospitals.
As many as a third of Spanish intensive care units already have capacity, meaning those who develop severe symptoms have nowhere to go.
Mr. Ella said on Thursday, “I know there are no positive numbers when we talk about the number of deaths. But allow me at least a glimmer of hope.
“The data shows that the numbers have stabilized and we have reached the first goal of reaching the top of the curve and we are starting to slow down.
“However, due to the nature of the pandemic, we still have many difficult weeks ahead.”
Madrid remains the worst affected region, with 3,865 deaths and nearly 30,000 cases, overwhelming hospitals and morgues.
The news came when the death toll in Europe of the virus exceeded 30,000, with more than 450,000 infections.
That compares to just 1,192 deaths and 36,347 infections when the World Health Organization declared the continent’s new virus epicenter on March 13.
Healthcare workers prepare to X-ray a COVID-19 patient in a library converted to intensive care unit in Barcelona
Spanish health authorities took contained measures three weeks ago to flatten the infection curve, but warn of tougher weeks ahead (pictured, an elderly woman with coronavirus is taken from the hospital to a nursing home)
Deaths are also rapidly increasing in France and Germany, both of which have risen sharply in the past 24 hours.
The Robert Koch Institute announced on Wednesday that 149 people have died from the virus yesterday the number of 583 deaths to 732, an increase of more than 25 percent.
It also brings Germany’s death rate to over 1 percent for the first time – still lower than most of its European neighbors, but up from 0.4 percent a week ago.
Meanwhile, the total number of infections in Germany increased by 5,453, recording the total from 61,913 yesterday to 67,366 today.
Germany has been widely praised for using extensive testing and contract tracking measures to contain and isolate the virus, although it is now feared that those measures have not been as effective as hoped.
Meanwhile, France struggled through its darkest 24-hour period between Monday and Tuesday, with 499 deaths from the virus – the largest number since the virus broke out earlier this year.
That brought the total number of deaths in the country from 3,024 to 3,523.
A 101-year-old woman was praised by nurses and doctors when she was released from hospital in northeastern Spain
The woman, called Encarnacion, was released from San Jorge de Huesca hospital in the municipality of Biescas after a battle with COVID-19
The 101-year-old was pictured waving to the hospital staff while being pushed through the doors. Her daughter Mari Carmen also showed her gratitude by waving and kissing
France has a total of 52,128 cases of COVID-19, the name of the disease caused by the virus.
Spain is working for two and a half weeks on a national closure with rules for staying at home for all workers except those in health, food production and distribution, and other essential industries.
The country is working hard to expand the number of intensive care units in hospitals that are rapidly filling up in the hardest hit regions of the country.
The Spanish authorities are bringing 1,500 fan machines purchased to the country and asking local manufacturers to ramp up production, using some creative solutions such as snorkeling masks used as breathing masks.
Spain has already increased its hospital beds by 20 percent.
Dozens of hotels across Spain have been turned into recovery rooms, and authorities are building field hospitals in sports centers, libraries and exhibition halls.
However, the greatest need in Europe today is intensive care units, which are essential in a pandemic in which tens of thousands of patients descend rapidly in acute breathlessness.
Those ICU units are much more difficult to crawl together quickly than standard hospital beds.
On Tuesday, Milan opened a field hospital for intensive care for 200 patients at the city’s exhibition grounds, complete with a pharmacy and radiology departments. It expects to employ approximately 900 employees in the end.
The move came after the health situation had become extreme in the Italian region of Lombardy, where bodies flooded in morgues, chests piled in churches, and in some cases doctors had to decide which desperately ill patient would receive a respirator.