Tuesday, July 5

One more effort in the stretch that has to be the end of the pandemic

Since February of last year, the pandemic – which was thus declared by the WHO in March and which meant that in Euskadi we declared a health emergency on the 13th of the same month – has generated an unprecedented, unknown, unexpected and unpredictable situation . In Euskadi -and all over the world- we are living in the anxiety of the pandemic curve. We suffered the most serious situation in the spring of 2020, in the months of March, April and May. After that first wave, incidence rates fell to minimum levels in June and July. At that time we mistakenly believed that we had controlled and overcome the situation. However, a second wave awaited us that forced the Basque Country to re-declare the health emergency on August 17.

The second wave has developed into three successive epidemic peaks. The first, in the same month of August; the second between October and November; the third in January of this year, reaching its maximum incidence at the end of April. From that point on, we were managing to maintain a general downward trend.

The end of the state of alarm that had served as a guarantee before the records and responses of the Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country (TSJPV) to the measures proposed by the Lehendakari as the authority of the Civil Protection Plan in Euskadi came to an end. The end of the mandatory use of the mask abroad has come as a result of a decree-law of the Spanish Government.

Summer has arrived and, even having said that, we find ourselves in a situation that, in a certain sense, is reminiscent of the one we suffered last year. It is true that the progress of the vaccination process is presented as a hope. But global vaccination is necessary all over the planet. Perhaps in this we also have to refine the discourse because we speak of global immunity when we should speak of global vaccination pending its effectiveness against the various and different variants of the virus that arise in the meantime. And we must not relax.

Uncertainty and fear of a new epidemic peak remain due to increased social interaction, the relaxation of protection measures and the incidence of new variants of the virus. A mutant virus. A virus that finds “fertile ground” if we do not strictly comply with the essential measures: personal hygiene-hand washing, interpersonal distance, limitation to permanent “bubbles” in small groups in social interaction, use of the mask in everything that does not It is possible to comply with the above on the outside and in a mandatory way inside any installation, as well as the aeration of the interiors.

The concept of “pandemic fatigue” reflects the feeling of society in this situation. The state of mind was very critical at the beginning, given the unknown and ignorance in relation to the duration and consequences of the virus. At that initial moment, it was possible to speak of a “covid eclipse”, since the pandemic occupied all the space, attention and social concern.

This state of mind suffers today. The pandemic has affected all aspects of life around the world. Society in general is knowing how to cope with this situation. Perhaps the youth is the group most affected by “fatigue”, since they are less affected by the consequences that the disease has had for other older age groups. However, I appeal to the youth. It is verifiable, yes, the difference so far in the incidence based on vaccination and the impact on health care pressure if we analyze groups of people over 65 years of age or under.

However, we must not rely on it and we must know that at the moment we are living days in which the data reflects that 85% of positive cases occur in those under 39 years of age, of which 72% are They are in the age group between 19 and 39 years.

Likewise, it is necessary to reflect that the percentage of infections in people under 39 years of age has been more than 70% with respect to the total daily infections and that it reflects the maximum trend each day, certifying the positive effect of vaccination in groups of senior age. But … – I repeat – we are faced with a mutant virus.

Therefore, the situation has been improving with regard to healthcare pressure and the high degree of understanding and social commitment to the restriction measures that have been adopted at all times is noteworthy. In any case, concern about the current situation deserves reflection. We have made a great effort over 15 months, we are in the stretch that has to be the end and we must demand more of ourselves.

I said in an interview published in May in number 66 of the magazine ‘Hermes’ that “if we know how to channel the new generations into suffering and solidarity, we will be a much better society.” It is not, therefore, a question that corresponds only to an age group but to the whole of society in knowing how to transmit and apply the meaning of individual and collective commitment, effort, rigor, individual responsibility and co-responsibility, solidarity. An attitude consistent with the lessons learned.

We know from lived experience that summer time must entail greater rigor and caution because mobility grows and they are propitious moments for family and social encounters, with greater contact with unusual people in our relationship bubble.

Faced with this situation, we have only one alternative: to avoid a new community transmission that ends up multiplying the accumulated incidence rate in a very few days. The effective alternative is to maintain tension to avoid backtracking. It is up to us to value all the effort made and maintain the commitment. We must avoid social interaction with people who are not part of our circle of coexistence. We must maintain interpersonal distance. Comply with the maximum number of people per group. We must avoid closed, poorly ventilated spaces with crowds of people. Always use the mask as an element of personal protection and a permanent reminder of the situation we are experiencing. We must avoid non-essential mobility. Communicate the list of contact persons in positive cases and save the mandatory quarantine period. We must assume that the administration of the vaccine requires continuing to comply with all prevention and self-protection measures.

In the section that has to be the end of this long pandemic tunnel, I appeal to make one more effort that I hope will be the last. This personal and collective commitment constitutes our greatest certainty and the truly effective means to contain the virus, preserve public health and save lives.