Spain is battling through a wave of uncertainty as to the number of cases spikes in all provinces due to the fast reincorporation of millions of citizens’ into their normal agenda. As of September 22nd, Spain has reached over 682,000+ coronavirus cases and 30,000+ deaths. Spain has secured its first doses of 30 million COVID-19 vaccines. The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will supply this vaccine once it is proven to be safe and effective against the disease.
As stated by CNN, outbreaks may still occur every year, which means that quarantines could also become a part of our lives just as other common diseases such as flu are. The chance that a cure is never found is low since unlike malaria and HIV, it does not mutate at a fast rate.
This month students from 130+ countries have arrived in Spain to the IE’s Segovia Campus. Although social distancing measures like the reduction of the number of students by room and sanitary control of all spaces on Campus, the arrival of students from all over the world has been a great incidence in the rise of cases and spread of the virus. In Segovia, more than 150,000+ citizens including students have been asked to wear face masks at all times, follow the World Health Organization (WHO) hygiene recommendations, information on symptoms and updates as well as to maintain a physical distancing of more than 1.5 meters.
The increase in cases of contagion in Madrid and the close relationship that the province of Segovia worries the health authorities and Segovian society itself. Segovians have not forgotten that most of the outbreaks that occurred in March came from the resident or working population of Madrid. Now that the highest prevalence is once again in the capital of Spain, the fear that the pandemic wreaks new havoc returns.
The latest data on the number of infections in the province of Segovia show a stabilization. In the last week, 267 infections have been reported in Segovia, compared to 416 in the week between September 7 and 13. This reflects a decline of 36 percent. However, IE has requested that all students in Segovia take an antigen test on Campus as cases in residences have increased. The total cipher of confirmed cases is 5,034, although there have been over a 1,000 hospital discharges, 19 patients continue to be admitted to the ward and another two to the Intensive Care Unit.
During September, the mortality caused by the coronavirus in the General Hospital of Segovia had given a break without having to mourn the deaths of patients with the COVID-19 disease. Precisely, the last deceased for this cause was on August 31 but this last Saturday the Regional Administration confirmed the first death this month of September. Although Segovia is a relatively small city in Spain, it is the home of students from all over the world that attend the IE University Campus.
As the COVID-19 situation in Segovia is still unpredictable, students have been inevitably exposed to different scenarios that make them more prone to obtain the virus. To collect some information on how a percentage of the students that have decided to participate in IE’s hybrid educational module, a survey was made to 34 students in the Factory Residence Hall.
When being asked if they felt safe inside the Factory Residence Hall, 14 students said that they didn’t feel safe, and 20 said they did feel safe. Although, most of them categorized their experience as amazing, very good, and controlled amid a pandemic, ⅓ of them expressed that they’d like to have more social distancing measures in the common areas, as it can sometimes get hectic in the dining hall.
Some of them made comments on how occasionally people skip wearing masks inside and that they’d like for common areas like elevators, stairs, and study rooms to be sanitized more frequently for them to feel safer.
Likewise, all of them agree that they should be mandatory to do random PCR tests and that the staff should provide more information on the number of positive COVID-19 cases inside the residence. When being asked if they plan to get tested, 18 students said that they didn’t plan on doing so, while 11 expressed that they were planning to, as cases have been increasing in Segovia. Nonetheless, the university has already expressed how all students must get tested this week. Results from the survey showcase how the Factory Residence Hall has a minimum of 10 active coronavirus cases.
Living in an unforeseen, new, unknown, and disconcerting situation like the current one influences the mental health of all students. The spike of cases in Segovia has triggered emotional stress in a large number of first-year students at least inside the Factory. More than 20 of the residents who took the survey feel stressed, anxious, and scared of the virus. We recommended that all of those students that have been tested positive for the COVID-19 or are not feeling mentally stable during this time to contact IE’s free, accessible, and confidential Counseling Office.
As of September 22nd, there have been four new discharges in the last 24 hours as informed by Segovia’s General Hospital. Likewise, numerous news outlets have announced that Segovia is now the third province with fewer people linked to outbreaks and the second with fewer active outbreaks in Castilla y León.