Spain’s COVID infection rate drops for second straight day

James B. Beal
955e87fb2ebc243a303be5446d99ec3e

Senior citizens participate in a dance class amid the coronavirus pandemic in Barcelona, Spain January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho DoceElderly women wearing face masks walk along a street amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Madrid, Spain, January 12, 2022. REUTERS/Susana VeraSenior citizens participate in a dance class amid the coronavirus pandemic in Barcelona, Spain January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce1/2

Elderly women wearing face masks walk along a street amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Madrid, Spain, January 12, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Spain's COVID-19 infection rate fell for the second day in a row on Wednesday after 11 weeks of surges to record highs, raising hope among health authorities that the frenetic spread of the Omicron variant may be slowing.

The rate as measured over the preceding 14 days fell to 3,286 cases per 100,000 people from Tuesday's 3,306 and Wednesday's record 3,397 cases, Health Minister Carolina Darias told a news conference.

Tuesday's drop was the first since Nov. 2, when the rate was below 50.

"It's important to see whether the decline consolidates in the coming days, which, if confirmed, would indicate that we've reached the peak of this wave or are at least very, very close," Darias said.

She added that the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounted for between 70% and 90% of infections across Spain's regions.

Despite the long surge in cases since November, hospital admissions and deaths remain well below those seen in earlier waves of the pandemic, thanks in large part to Spain's high vaccination rate – 80.5% of its 47 million population.

Darias reiterated her call for Spaniards to take booster shots, which she said markedly improve protection against the Omicron and Delta variants.

So far in the pandemic, Spain has registered more than 8.5 million infections and over 91,000 deaths.

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