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That Spain's coronavirus figures are much better than what they were a few weeks ago is something that no one questions. But the question marks continue to pop up with respect to the Spanish state's official data. With the country gradually de-escalating its lockdown to re-open under a "new normality", the smooth decline of the coronavirus cases curve has struck a little turbulence since Monday, with the number of new infections doubling twice in two days. It's probably just a blip. But confidence in the bigger picture of Spanish Covid-19 data hasn't been helped by a series of chaotic changes in the data presented recently, culminating yesterday in the health ministry's announcement that it will stop giving figures for the total of Covid-19 deaths in Spain until it gets its data sorted out.

With regard to new confirmed cases, even if the absolute numbers involved are small, the upward progression of the last two days has been exponential: 48 new cases gave positive results to PCR tests on Monday - which was good news, the lowest one-day figure since the start of Spain state of alarm in March. But then yesterday, the figure doubled to 84, and today, it has doubled again, to 167.

New confirmed Covid-19 cases per day in Spain

The main focus of the new infections is Madrid this Wednesday, with 62. Behind is Catalonia, which reported 36 between yesterday and today. These two autonomous communities account for more than half of the new positives. They are also, along with the Castille y León region, the parts of the Spanish state which are lagging furthest behind in the four phase de-escalation process.

Spain's total death toll, frozen

As with the numbers of cases, it's clear that there are fewer deaths from Covid-19 in Spain recorded now than in the terrible days of April. But giving an exact daily figure has been almost impossible since the Spanish ministry changed its statistical system on 25th May - from that point on, the official daily announcement has given only the number of deaths over the previous seven days. Now, the uncertainty in accumulated data has led the ministry to stop updating the total for the number of deaths accumulated so far.

Covid-19 deaths per day in Spain 

Salvador Illa's health ministry admits that the figures do not add up and has chosen to stop updating the total number of deaths until it has thoroughly reviewed the data recorded over these three months. The doubts are especially focused on data recorded between March and early May, which the ministry acknowledges are not solid enough. Thus, the only official figure for Spanish deaths being reported now is that of the fatalities reported in the last week. According to today's data, there have been 40 deaths in the last seven days.

It is not that the doubts over the completeness of the Spanish data are anything new. The policy since the beginning of the pandemic of only including cases and deaths proven through PCR tests has led to undercounting, and has contrasted with the higher figures published by some autonomous communities - which might, on the other hand, create overcounting. For example, Catalonia's health ministry at present gives a figure for total deaths in Catalonia of 12,423 - of which 7,425 were patients who had tested positive, and 4,998 were suspicious cases. But the official Spanish data admits only 5,587 Covid-19 deaths in Catalonia.

The most recent official estimate puts the total volume of coronavirus deaths in Spain at 27,136, but health emergency coordinator Fernando Simón himself admits that this official figure could grow to 28,000 or 29,000 deaths. Moreover, both the National Institute of Statistics and the Civil Registry have reported that in the period from mid-March to mid-May, there was an excess of deaths in Spain of more than 40,000 people compared to the numbers who can be statisically expected to die in a normal year.