At last holidays and at last further vaccinations. In spite of all the bad things, it seems that this Easter Week is giving us a little breathing space and even a slight dose of optimism, which we are very much in need of. A considerable part of the population has been able to leave home and enjoy a change of scenery, something that many will be grateful for after a long time without being able to leave the municipality, first, and the region, later. And, at the same time, the vaccination process is speeding up -this weekend and on Bank Holiday Monday there will be vaccinations-, which opens the door to think that maybe we will achieve the goal of reaching summer in conditions of a minimum normality. But let's not rush.
For months, the ups and downs in the fight against the pandemic have managed to leave us exhausted and bewildered: the permanent lockdown changes, the European chaos with the vaccines, the discrepancies between governments and epidemiologists... It has been a hard autumn and winter, both from a health and economic point of view. The pandemic has been very long, and we are still far from the end. But now, with the beginning of spring and Easter, there are signs of hope for the first time. Even if we must be very cautious: many people are still dying every day and many more are becoming infected. In fact, vaccination has finally picked up pace at a time when the indicators of the evolution of the pandemic have been worsening for the last two weeks: this Friday there have been 1,606 new infections in Catalonia and 17 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 21,328. The EPG has risen 9 points and stands at 284, and the R number has also increased one hundredth (1.21). Although the number of people admitted to hospitals has decreased by 27 (the total is 1,427), those in ICUs have increased by three (417).
Therefore, time and effort are lacking to master the virus, and herd immunity is still a long way off. As we explained today in the newspaper, until vaccination does not reach children, it will hardly be achieved. And in the Catalan case, it is still a long way to go before this becomes a reality. Right now we still have important -and hard to understand- gaps in the vaccination procedure of older age groups, especially those aged 66 to 79 years, which is crucial because cases of infection often end with hospital admissions. The announced arrival next week of a large shipment of Pfizer doses may have a positive impact on this group at risk.
So any prevention is too little. The fact that we have been able to leave our usual environment for a few days should not be incompatible with the utmost caution that involves maintaining the bubble groups and minimize socialization. Some images of overcrowded beaches generate discomfort and doubts. They raise fears of a further epidemiological setback after Easter, with all that this would entail in terms of disruption of social and economic life if we were to return to situations of more or less harsh lockdown. So let us welcome the holidays and hope that the acceleration of vaccination is maintained. But above all, let us not let our guard down in our daily lives.