Professor Joan Carles March.


Professor Joan Carles March, one of Spain's leading experts in preventive medicine and public health, says that while the second wave of coronavirus is more contagious, it is less virulent.

Proof of the spread of the virus can be found across Europe. March explains that the increased efficiency of the virus to spread may well be one of the factors behind the rapid increase in cases over recent weeks; this along with mobility after the summer, a return to work and greater socialising indoors.

In the Balearics, there have been more than 200 new positive cases each day since October 28. However, the 14-day cumulative incidence per 100,000 is the second lowest in the country. At 212.88, it is still well off the lowest rate - 76.67 in the Canaries.

March believes that the virus has probably mutated and is now more contagious, "but it is not more virulent". "The genetic mutation has allowed the virus to modify the S protein, which is the protein the virus uses as a hook to attach itself to the membrane of human cells and be able to infect them. The mutation enables the virus to cling to cells more efficiently and accelerates the proliferation of the virus in the upper respiratory tract but not in the lungs, which removes the virulence."

* Professor March, of the Andalusian School of Public Health, is from Pollensa and is the brother of the Balearic education minister, Martí March, and the former mayor of Pollensa and ex-spokesperson for the environmentalists GOB, Miquel Àngel March.