The renowned virologist at the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC) Margarita del Val, has warned of the possibility of a new massive contagion of coronavirus and other respiratory infections for the coming Christmas, as well as that the next health crisis “will come through the air”.

These are some of the main conclusions drawn from the I International Summit on Pandemic Management organized by the Valencia City Council, within the framework of the European STAMINA project in which 38 organizations from nineteen countries participate.

Del Val warned about the uncertainty surrounding the evolution of the coronavirus after the summer, especially in relation to the winter season where infections occur in closed spaces and with worse ventilation.

“We don’t know what is going to happen, but I am almost sure that when Christmas comes next, with our usual behavior, we will catch other respiratory diseases and Covid,” she argued.

Despite the ‘flu-like’ process of the disease, the coronavirus pandemic has not ended, something that both Del Val and other epidemiological experts such as the director of the Center for Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, who also participated in the international meeting held in the capital of Turia.

According to the latest data offered by the Ministry of Health, this Friday 45,919 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported, of the 22,120 they have occurred in those over sixty years of age. In addition, 236 more deaths have been registered, while 6,980 people are still admitted to Spanish hospitals, 379 of them in the ICU. Currently, the national cumulative incidence stands at 728.22 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants in people over 60 years of age.

In this regard, the department headed by Carolina Darias has detected the arrival of a new variant of coronavirus in Spain, specifically, BA.2.12.1, arising from the same Ómicron lineage but with a greater transmission capacity. It is the prevalent strain in New York, where the health authorities decreed the high level of alarm due to its rapid proliferation.

During her speech at the international summit organized by the Valencia City Council, the CSIC researcher analyzed the current situation out of concern, at a “difficult” time, given the “little data” handled by the Ministries of Health, who have seen reduced the amount of information regarding infections and deaths.

Given this context, Del Val encouraged the authorities to “take advantage of this good time to prepare ourselves better”, not for the summer season, but in reference to the autumn and winter dates. For this reason, he stressed the importance of administering the fourth dose of the vaccine in a general way as long as they are efficient against the latest variants.

Regarding the arrival of new health crises in the future, Del Val explained in detail how Covid-19 “has taught us that the transmission mechanism is the air”, and that, therefore, “we must learn to clean it”.

Something that he qualifies as an “enforceable right”: “I don’t have to filter my air when I have to breathe it, just as I don’t filter my water when I have to drink it. If I don’t share my glass with everyone in a restaurant, I don’t have to share my air with everyone in a closed room either,” he added.

To do this, it influenced the general installation of C02 meters that allow knowing when there is a risk of contagion, as is already being done in schools and universities, as well as the drafting of state regulations that guarantee clean air that would avoid opening permanently. windows with the consequent energy consumption that it entails. “There are more and more smart buildings focused on saving energy, but less and less healthy for the transmission of respiratory diseases,” he stressed.