Vaccines first, euphoria later
A new upsurge in contagions would be a bad sign, both in terms of the real effects (albeit limited, given that the most at-risk groups are those that are beginning to be vaccinated) and in terms of the psychological and economic effects. If we were to suddenly take a collective step backwards and the health indicators were to rise again, it could easily send a message to the international community that Catalonia and Spain are no longer safe, with the effect this could have on tourism. The optimistic message, even too optimistic, that the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, launched this Monday according to which we will have achieved herd immunity by August has a lot to do with the desire to give an international image of security. And this is understandable: in the short term, the return of tourism is an important factor in easing our way out of the crisis. But this message could be turned on its head if the reality of the health situation does not match it in the coming weeks. Because in the next few key weeks vaccination will have to be prioritised over an excessively speedy de-escalation, as nightlife businesses - among others - are seeking, after having been forced to stay shut since last July.
The images of this weekend of crowds and euphoric nightlife without complying with the minimum health advice are not a good sign. The desire to turn the page on the pandemic is understandable, but like it or not, it can't be done all at once. The opening of nightlife will have to be gradual. Among other reasons, because covid-19 is still here. ICUs have not been emptied, there are still deaths caused by coronavirus every day, and the number of infections is still in the hundreds per day. The rate of vaccination, fortunately, is now high: 13,000 first doses in the last 24 hours, with people aged between 56 and 59 starting to receive the jab this week. In any case, the groups below this age group, mostly unvaccinated, have to be asked to make a last effort of containment. The fact that there is no longer a state of alarm and that, therefore, some aspects of night-time sociability are beginning to return to normal does not mean that the essential rules of prevention should not be maintained, starting with the mask and continuing with bubble groups. We cannot confuse the end of the state of alarm with the end of the pandemic.
This Monday, journalist Carles Francino, returned to work to his Cadena SER programme recalling much he suffered when overcoming covid, and wishing that his case will mean people don't lower their guard and do not to forget the enormous and persistent work of health workers. It is hard for those who continue to fight the virus every day to understand certain frivolous attitudes that should not be repeated in the coming nights. Nor is it admissible that the PP is using this delicate moment as a political weapon against the Spanish government. A party that in Madrid has prided itself in lax management of the virus, probably benefiting from stricter measures in the rest of Spain, has little authority to lecture others. Once again, we must appeal to individual and collective responsibility if we really want to come out of the pandemic and the crisis in good conditions.