16/08/2021

Parties and crowds are cause for alarm

2 min
Young people doing 'bot ellón' on the beach in Barcelona, early this morning.

Barcelona"We feel helpless, because we cannot see how to solve it". This is the desperate appeal made by the mayoress of Llançà, Núria Escarpanter, in the face of the avalanche of parties and boozing that is seen every weekend on the beaches of her municipality, which is not included in the list of those under night curfew. This discomfort is extensible to other towns on the Costa Brava that do not have curfews and suffer a kind of call effect, since people from other places where there is a curfew move to continue the party during the night, with the corresponding inconvenience caused to the neighbourhood and the risk of contagion they represent.

This is one of the collateral effects of the selective curfew approved by the Generalitat in 176 municipalities, which just this week could be extended for two more weeks. In any case, after the traumatic experience of the fifth wave, the authorities would have to prevent these crowds and parties of all kinds where safe distances are not kept and masks not worn. On the eve of the start of the school year, it would be unforgivable if the number of cases of infection were to rise again just as we are entering the final stretch of the vaccination process. The country is not in a position to face a sixth wave that would have catastrophic consequences for the economic fabric.

In the same vein, the images of crowds of young people partying without masks in the narrow streets of Gràcia are also incomprehensible in the narrow streets of Gràcia for the festival when the cumulative incidence at 14 days continues to exceed 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It seems as if the same mistake was repeated as in June, when the green light was given to festivals (with attendants taking an antigen test) and did not foresee the exponential escalation in infections that would end up taking place. As if it were a curse, each improvement in figures (in June the cumulative incidence was under 100) has been followed by an escalation in infections.

With over 60% of the population vaccinated, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic. This is the way forward, but a final effort is still needed to avoid overcrowding. Experience shows that infections among vaccinated people are not negligible and, in a context of skyrocketing incidence, it has ended up being numerically important. The good thing is that the vaccine has mitigated the effects of the virus, because it is scary to think what mortality we would have had last summer with this summer's infection numbers.

Therefore, the Catalan Government, as well as Barcelona City Council, cannot turn a blind eye to a reality that threatens to truncate the good progress in recent weeks after the peak was overcome in mid-July. We must take extreme precautions in the remainder of August and use the necessary staff to avoid crowds, which are sources of contagion.

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