Every country other than Sweden is getting ready for coronavirus part two.
You can expect it to be way more extreme than part one.
This is now about crushing you completely.
An hour or so before lunch on Thursday, Ángela Falcón stepped out of the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and on to the hot and busy streets of Parla.
“I’m scared and I very seldom come out but when I do, I stop by the church to pray,” said the 71-year-old.
Like many in Parla, a satellite city of 130,000 people a half hour’s drive southwest of Madrid, Falcón is taking no chances with the coronavirus and its second wave.
On Monday, Spain raced past an unenviable milestone, becoming the first western European country to register 500,000 Covid cases, almost a third of them in the Madrid region.
According to figures from the regional government, Parla is the Madrid municipality with the highest accumulated incidence of the virus: in the fortnight from 24 August to 6 September, it had 876.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Over roughly the same period, Spain as a whole had 265.5 cases per 100,000 people, France 140.6, the UK 41.7, and Italy 31.9 .
The rise in newly diagnosed cases is equally arresting, with more than 112,364 fresh cases detected in Spain over the past fortnight alone.
Despite the surge in numbers, however, there is little obvious panic to be found on the streets of Parla. People, both old and young, still shop, chat and stop to remove their masks for a mid-morning coffee or beer.
Clues as to the huge rise in cases – and the apparent, and counterintuitive, lack of fear – can be found in the city’s demographics.
Statistics from the Carlos III public health institute in Madrid show that 25% of new cases across Spain are being detected in people aged 15-29, while those aged 15-59 account for 71% of new cases. The most overrepresented groups are men and women aged 15-44 and women aged 89 and over. As Parla’s mayor, Ramón Jurado, points out, residents of the municipality are young, with an average age of just 34.
“During the first wave, there were hardly any cases here because they were only testing older people who went into hospital,” he says.
“We had one of the lowest rates in the Madrid region. But we’ve got a lot of cases now. The thing that counts in our favour is also something that counts against us: the number of young inhabitants.
Yes, and of course, young people can’t die from the virus.
But we’re not even talking about that anymore.
The whole point now is that it’s bad if people get the flu, and we have to prevent that by any means necessary, including destroying the entire society.