A pedestrian wears a face mask as a precaution against transmission of the Covid-19 at Sol Square on March 19, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
Borja B. Hojas | Getty Images
Most people in Spain’s capital city will get the coronavirus, according to the head of the Madrid region, with the country now reporting the second-highest number of infections in Europe.
Speaking to state radio Thursday, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the president of the region of Madrid, said eight out of 10 people in the city would contract COVID-19.
She added that while most would likely have mild symptoms, the coronavirus could be “lethal” for any person in the vulnerable population group — such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.
On Friday, Spain’s health emergency chief reported that the country’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak had soared to 1,002, up from 767 on Thursday.
The number of confirmed infections rose to 19,980 on Friday, up from 17,147 the previous day.
Spain is second only to Italy for coronavirus-related cases and deaths in Europe, which has become the epicenter of the outbreak.
Earlier this week, the WHO’s regional director for Europe said one-third of globally reported cases were now stemming from the region.
The United Nations health agency has advised all countries to adopt a mix of interventions based on an analysis of the local situation and context, with containment as a major pillar.
Case growth in other major European countries is faster than in Italy, at 25% across Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium on Thursday, according to data compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“Their lockdowns are more recent than Italy’s and it will take longer for progress to emerge,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note published Friday.
Italy and Spain are being ‘badly hit’
On Wednesday, the European Central Bank unveiled a 750 billion euro ($803 billion) asset purchase program in an effort to help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nonetheless, shortly after reporting the most coronavirus-related deaths worldwide, Italy has contacted the European Union to ask to use its bailout rescue fund.
“Case numbers are surging across the continent and some fiscally challenged countries, such as Italy and Spain, are being badly hit,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, said in a research note published Friday.
“All European countries will need to finance huge budget deficits in a year when GDP might even fall by 5% or more. In Italy, Spain and a few other countries, the deficits may exceed 10% of GDP,” he added.