People on the waiting list to be tested for Covid-19 at the Buenos Aires Health Center in southern Madrid Friday morning were met with a grim but polite sign.

Homemade notepad still holds the information of the previous day, written with marker on sticky yellow sheets of paper: Consultation – by phone and in person – 483; COVID-19 consultations; PCR tests, 78; The number of absentee employees is 13.

Another note is clipped below: “We are doing our best to take care of you. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

The council’s sad message is echoing in many of the poorest regions of the Madrid region with the emergence of the second wave of the fight against Coronavirus. Spain And again it threatens to overwhelm the health system in and around the capital.

During the past two weeks, Spain informed More than 122,000 new cases of COVID-19, more than a third of them in the Madrid region. The number of cases per 100,000 people is 259.76 throughout Spain as a whole. In Madrid, the number increased to 659.41, and in Puente de Vallecas, the area served by the Buenos Aires Medical Center, It is 1,241.

In the UK, there is 59.3 homes per 100,000In France 166.9 and in Italy 33.

As the numbers soared in Spain, and with it a disgusting sense of deja vu, Madrid’s regional government faltered.

A sign outside the Buenos Aires health center in Madrid on Friday.

A sign outside the Buenos Aires health center in Madrid on Friday. Photo: Sam Jones / The Guardian

The deputy health minister said on Wednesday Targeted closings will be introduced this weekend To stop the spread of the virus. A day later, when the central government called for urgent action, the administration backed down, saying the word “shutdown” made people nervous and added that the plan was only aimed at “reducing mobility and communications” in the hardest hit areas.

Regional President, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who has questioned the wisdom of extending the strict national lockdown in May – “People are run over every day but that doesn’t mean we ban cars.” He accused the central government of abandoning Madrid.

It was criticized earlier this week after claiming that the infection rate in the south of the city and the region was due “among other things to the lifestyle of immigrants in Madrid and the population density in these neighborhoods and municipalities.”

Ayusu and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez are to meet in Madrid on Monday to discuss a joint strategy to “flatten the curve”.

But with the twists taking place, the search for scapegoats and the engaging of political bickering, the new virus continued to spread throughout the capital. Once again, the poorest people are hardest hit and medical resources are under increasing pressure. Many health centers have had to close due to lack of staff, while others are limping as best they can.

Flora Espejo, a nurse at the health center in Buenos Aires, provided a brief assessment of the situation on Thursday. “We are doing what we can” She told La Sexta TVBut he noted that the long line of people lining up outside the clinic were bearing the brunt of things.

She said, “We cannot take care of them because of the current situation. Just look around who are the ones who work? The working class. Who are the ones who commute to work? The working class. Who does not work remotely? The working class. Who are the people who live from six to eight?” To 45 square meters? The working class … are the ones who are suffering. We are drowning, but they are the ones suffering the consequences of the regional government’s mishandling of all this. “

Cases of Spain

While he waits outside the center for a PCR test for his five-year-old son, Jonathan Galvez said he feared the situation would get worse. “It’s tough enough,” said the transport worker, “but now we’re heading into flu season.” “It is only shameful to close many health centers.”

Angela Hernandez Puente, the surgeon and deputy general secretary of the AMTS Medical Association in Madrid, said that while things in health centers were “really bad” – mainly due to chronic staff shortages and the number of health workers who had stopped catching Covid-19 – they were Madrid’s hospitals, too, are starting to experience an unpleasant familiar trend.

Across Spain, Covid patients occupy 8.6% of hospital beds, but in Madrid, the figure is 21% – and it’s on the rise. Two district hospitals – Infanta Leonor in the south of the capital And the Infanta Sofía in the nearby town of San Sebastian de los Reyes They said their ICUs are already running at 100% capacity.

“Among the patients who are not infected with Covid and Covid, they are already full,” Hernandez Puente said. “This means they have to use the repurposed areas as ICUs, but they’re not actually ICUs. We’re seeing scheduled surgeries canceled, which is tough because there’s a backlog because of the past few months.”

A surgeon who seems tired and more anxious than him I did it less than two weeks ago, Describes the regional government’s handling of the second wave as “absolutely Kafka.”

She added that given the trends, more drastic measures should have been taken before now. She admits it Madrid’s population and density, not to mention the high levels of mobility, They display their own challenges.

“But you can’t just hope that the problem will solve itself, and that’s what they seem to be doing,” she said.

Hernandez Puente is also skeptical about the reopening of the gigantic field hospital that had been set up in Madrid’s main convention center at its previous peak.

Where do they think they will bring the doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants? If they do that, they will have to close local health centers as they did in the worst moments of the epidemic. “

If a repetition of the spring is to be avoided, she said, more solidarity is needed when it comes to burden sharing between hospitals, public and private. However, time is running out as the second wave approaches through Madrid.

“I don’t know where it all will end,” said Hernandez Puente. “I really don’t.”

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