The question is, are we going about tackling the virus in the most efficient way or are well trying to juggle too many priorities at once?
The Health Committee belonging to the Junta will announce this evening any changes produced by the new figures, which indicate a drop in contagion.
The question is, however, is the opening up and shutting down of municipalities the best way forward, or is it, politicians taking the easiest rather than the most effective measures? No, this is not a cheap shot at politicians but rather an attempt to stand back and examine.
The present system of using 0.5% and 1.0% of 100,000 inhabitants as a guide seems unfairly balanced against small villages where just a couple of cases pushes them over the 1,000 per 100k figures, yet it must be remembered that it only takes a couple of people to recover or there to be no more cases within 14 days for the village concerned to instantly pop back out of the lockdown.
But is this opening up each time the figures go down really effective, or is it more about protecting the economy? Is this tactic like ‘pumping the brakes’ rather than ‘slamming on the anchors’ to avoid losing control as we race up towards the wall of hospital overload?
Two things are obvious:
A) Our economy depends on tourism and the hostelry/hospitality sector is bleeding to death.
B) The Central Government does not have the money to pay for a house-confinement like in March; you can’t prevent people from working and then continue to charge them their Social-Security payments, for example. There certainly isn’t enough money to pay every autónomo 671 euros during a 4-week total quarantine.
Conclusion: the Government has to keep the tourist sector ticking over even if it is only on half gas.
What many experts (doctors, virologists etc) are warning is that regional and national administrations permit mass mobility (summer & Christmas) when they know that it will create another wave of infections; even now some politicians are pushing the idea about opening up for Semana Santa this year.
Squaring the circles: protect the economy and combat the virus.
You can’t park all the blame at the door of politicians because ultimately controlling the spread of the virus depends on us as individuals, perhaps more so.
This weekend past, for example, there were 247 illegal parties in Madrid; crowding, no masks, shouting in each other’s faces to be heard over the music. If you want an international example, the US Super Bowl yesterday.
The reason that the hostelry sector is considered a prime focal points, despite all the efforts of business owners and staff, are the customers. People still think that you take your mask off when you walk in the door and don’t put it on again until you’re walking towards the car after leaving. You take a look at any bar and hardly anybody wears a masked once they’ve parked themselves on a chair.
Is this the fault of the bar/restaurant owners or staff? Certainly not; a waiter is not a policeman. Mention to a customer that they should be wearing their mask between courses (when not actively drinking or eating) and you are liable to get sarky comments at best or punched in the face at worse. Is a waiter going to put his job in jeopardy, if not backed by the proprietor. If you’re the business owner, you’ll want all the custom you can get and not risk turning customers away by asking them to put their mask on.
The EC has proved to be a giant with feet of clay. Whilst some applaud the EC erring on the side of caution where vaccine approval is concerned, others have pointed to the efficiency of the UK, the USA and other countries getting the various vaccines to their populations, whereas Europe trudges in the rearguard throwing its weight around.
The fact is that the development and testing of these vaccines is unparalleled in history as far as speed goes, which is both inspiring and a source of concern. The reported reason that testing has been so speedy is that the time elapse between subject-number tests has been reduced so that stage two (larger number involved) was initiated whilst stage one (small numbers) was concluded, which is not corner cutting as far as safety goes. However, we will not know until a couple of years or more down the line the true, after effects. That’s the problem.
In times of urgency R&D is rushed – during WW2 some new aircraft, fighting-vehicle and ship types were rushed into service hoping to iron out faults with feedback coming from theatre of action where they were deployed; in other words, knowing that service personnel might die because of these design faults was put in second place to getting the product to the right hands in the shortest time possible.
Are we at war with the virus, therefore?
Another question is that for all the speed that development & deployment of vaccines is handled, is the virus mutating faster? Are we ‘shooting directly at the rapidly moving target instead of in front of it?. Of course, we don’t know the trajectory of the virus beforehand; there are no tracer rounds to lead onto the target.
We can only keep our fingers crossed that the mutations popping up remain within the effective capacity of the vaccines. One thing is for sure; if the virus turns highly lethal then we won’t have to worry about people not taking it seriously; they will remove themselves from the gene pool.
(News/Editorial: Tackling The Virus)