Talk:City and Region of Madrid

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The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020

Monographs from the National Atlas of Spain. New content

Statistical graph: Evolution in the amount of COVID-19 cases in the region of Madrid. 2020. Madrid.

The Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) was hit hard by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 74,000 citizens in the Region were infected with COVID-19 from February to June 2020, 40,000 of whom were admitted to hospital, over 3,000 were admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and 8,747 died, according to the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), which was the institution in charge of gathering data on COVID-19 for the whole country. Therefore, the number of deaths in the Region accounted for almost 30% of the total amount of deaths in the country (29,757 deaths were registered nationwide according to ISCIII, 2021), despite the fact that only 14% of the national population lives in the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid). It shall be noted, however, that these figures show only COVID-19 cases confirmed by a laboratory test, but the real amount of people infected remains unknown as mass diagnostic testing was not being carried out at the time.

Figures on the impact of the pandemic on health in the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) stand well above those in other regions in Spain both in absolute and relative terms. This section does not seek to compare Madrid to any other region in the country. However, this ‘metropolitan’ region is rather peculiar from a socioeconomic point of view and some geographical aspects shall therefore be taken into account, e.g. it shows a high population density; the fourth busiest airport in the European Union is located in the Region, what entails a significant flow of national, European and international passengers; the fact that it is the central hub for the main road and rail networks in Spain; the economic dynamism; the sociodemographic and cultural diversity, etc.

Map: COVID-19 cases in the region of Madrid. 2020. Madrid. PDF. More information.
Map: Population over 65 years of age in the region of Madrid. 2020. Madrid.PDF. More information.

Coronavirus peaked in Madrid some time earlier than in the rest of the country. Both the city of Madrid and the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) reached the peak of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the last days of March 2020, whilst most of the other regions in Spain peaked well into early April or even later. 12,517 people died in Madrid in the month of March 2020 (considering all causes), whilst 4,195 deaths were recorded during the same month of the previous year (National Statistics Institute, 2020 and 2021). Furthermore, the fall in numbers after peaking was slower and more gradual than in other regions in the country.

Indicators show unevenly distributed figures when comparing the city of Madrid to the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid). There are ample differences between the different boroughs and municipalities as well as by sex and by age. The age distribution of the 8,747 people who died from COVID-19 in the period comprising the first wave of the pandemic shows that nearly 83% (7,252) were over 70 years of age (ISCIII, 2021). When broken down by sex, statistics show that 58% of dead were men and 42% were women. It shall also be noted that this difference by sex was larger in the 40 to 69-years-of-age group, in which 1,034 dead were men (71%) and 418 were women (29%). By contrast, this difference by sex nearly disappeared in the under 39-years-of-age group, in which 22 men and 21 women passed away.

A similar situation may be observed on the figures on hospital admissions and use of hospital beds allotted to ICUs by COVID-19 patients. More men were admitted to hospital and required admission at intensive care units in the over 40 years-of-age group, whilst the amount of COVID-19 cases was much larger amongst women (40,400 women to 33,537 men). This suggests that the symptoms and effects of the virus were more severe on men.

Geographical differences were also sharp. The Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) registers the highest figures for indicators on population congestion and urban development in the whole country. Both indicators are key factors when it comes to understanding the geographical behaviour of the pandemic. However, this general situation contrasts sharply with the very few areas in the Region that stay aside metropolitan processes. The boroughs within the city of Madrid also show significant demographic and socioeconomic differences and large inequalities. Numerous research groups are currently assessing these factors and studying the role they played in the pandemic’s uneven impact by looking at manifold variables (home size, household overcrowding, income, academic level, etc.).

The uneven distribution of some of these variables may be observed on two municipal maps of the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid). One depicts the distribution of the population over 65 years of age, whilst the other shows COVID-19 cases from February to June 2020. Certain parallels may be drawn between the two. The oldest sex-age pyramids are to be found in municipalities located on the three corners of the map, i.e. north, southeast and southwest. These areas were therefore more affected in general.

The map on Unemployed in the city of Madrid depicts the amount of unemployed and the amount of unemployed per 1,000 inhabitants during the period assessed. In the southern boroughs of the city, i.e. Puente de Vallecas, Villa de Vallecas, Carabanchel, Usera, Villaverde, there were over 70 unemployed for every one thousand inhabitants, whilst these figures stood under forty in the northern boroughs, such as Chamartín, Chamberí, Fuencarral-El Pardo, Moncloa-Aravaca, Retiro and Salamanca. This distribution does not correlate precisely with the distribution of the map on Social benefits in the city of Madrid, yet the same gradient of inequality may be observed on both. Chamartín stands out since low unemployment figures were registered (31 unemployed per 1,000 inhabitants) and low figures for the amount of social welfare beneficiaries were recorded (128 out of a total of 13,316 in the city), yet the highest amounts for social welfare benefits were payed, i.e. 1,082 euros.

The interrelationships between age and impact of the disease are depicted on the maps on the population over 65 years of age and COVID-19 cases, both for the municipalities of the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) and the boroughs in the city of Madrid. These maps align with the evidence provided by statistics and epidemiological knowledge.

However, the relationship between the impact of the disease and the other socioeconomic variables is not as clear-cut. This does not mean it does not exist. It simply means that a multidisciplinary assessment is required to go more in depth and better understand the influence of each of these factors on the incidence and impact of the pandemic.

It shall be borne in mind when using these maps that the criteria for counting COVID-19 cases varied throughout the period assessed at different times and in different ways, depending on the various territories. The sources that have been used provide information on which criteria were used and when they were used.


Co-authorship of the text in Spanish: Francisco Escobar Martínez. See the list of members engaged



You can download the complete publication The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020 in Libros Digitales del ANE site.