It was not hard to find a party in the Spanish capital this summer. With just one death from coronavirus reported in the Madrid region on June 21, the day the rest of Spain was released from lockdown, the local administration decided it could not wait to get back to more normal life and skipped the final phase of its gradual relaxation of restrictions.
If there wasn't murder on the dancefloor, there was something close.
Local authorities soon found that the restrictions on nightclubs, meant to close dancefloors and restrict capacity to 60 per cent, were being flouted as people released from the toughest lockdown in Europe partied like it was 2019.
Even when Madrid moved to curb opening hours with a 1am curfew, underground parties sprang up, such as one in a basement sauna in the central business district at which 73 people were caught without masks.
Several outbreaks (the graphic below shows cases in Spain) have since been traced back to that early phase of delirium in nightclubs.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, a Spanish politician who serves as the President of the Community of Madrid, has long chafed against the more cautious central government, saying in May that Madrid "prizes liberty above all".
Today, however, the city is the capital of Europe's second wave.
The Madrid region, dominated by the city and its large suburbs to the south, has a cumulative caseload of 722 positives per 100,000 inhabitants in a two-week period – 2.5 times the average for Spain as a whole. In Paris, that number is just 204, despite France having daily case numbers to rival those of Spain.
The hurried reopening is just one example of carelessness on the part of local government, critics say, which extends to currently underestimating the strain on hospitals and failing to establish a working test and trace system.
Spain's government is threatening to intervene once more and ramp up what it sees as limited measures put in place by Madrid, which last week placed one million people in 45 of 286 districts under local lockdown, meaning they can only leave their home areas for essential reasons.
Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Sunday (as shown in the video below): "We believe Ms Díaz Ayuso will react; otherwise, we will have to take action."
Residents have been left confused because the boundaries of lockdowns are based on healthcare wards and not better-known municipal boundaries.
Last week at a police checkpoint in Puente de Vallecas, Rosa, stopped in her Citroen passing from one district to another, explained she had "no idea of what the rules are". This is a common sentiment.
Meanwhile, Madrid's hospitals are starting to feel a familiar strain, as in the build-up to the spike in March that saw a large-scale collapse of the healthcare system.
Health worker unions say intensive care units are approaching capacity – and some have already passed it – despite the local government's claim that only 40 per cent of ICU beds are taken up by Covid-19 cases.
"What we call the 'dirty areas', ones with Covid patients, are taking over from all the others in the hospital. Intensive care is full, but the regional government plucks out the capacity figure from what we did in March and April, but that is like wartime healthcare," Santiago Usoz, a nurse from the A&E department at Madrid's 12 de Octubre hospital, told The Telegraph.
"It’s like meeting Mike Tyson in a corridor; the first time you get beat up, but surely the second time you know that you have to run away."
One of the reasons Spain's health ministry was concerned about Madrid's readiness to exit lockdown in June was its lack of proven contact tracing capacity.
The regional government insisted it would increase personnel "as the situation required", but alarm bells started to ring in August when it awarded a contract to a private company for a mere 22 tracers.
Last week, a contingent from Spain's armed forces began contact tracing in the region, and the regional government claims it now has 800 operatives.
However, doctors and nurses from the frontline of primary healthcare, spoken to by The Telegraph, claim they have yet to see any evidence of their work.
"I lose sleep thinking about what could have been done with 1,500 contact tracers with the low epidemiological rates we had in June," said Ángela Hernández, vice-president of the Madrid Doctors Association.
It all combines to leave residents of the Spanish capital facing a particularly grim winter, with the popularity of Ms Díaz Ayuso continuing to fall.