A last-ditch effort to defeat the pandemic
The facts are clear. If we do not stop it, Catalonia is heading towards a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic of coronavirus before the vaccination process is sufficiently advanced. And this happens just at the gates of the Easter holidays, in which despite the restrictions an increase in mobility is expected that could lead to a more pronounced rise in infections. So far the rate of contagion is increasing quite slowly, so the health authorities have launched the message that we must exercise extreme caution during these days to prevent the situation from overflowing with the return to work and school. Ten days ago the cumulative incidence over 14 days was below 200 per 100,000 inhabitants, and now already exceeds 225. They are not very alarming figures yet, but the trend is worrying.
If we take a look at the map of the incidence of the virus throughout Europe, it is clear that this fourth wave is travelling from north to south, with strongly affected countries such as Belgium and Poland, but also Italy, France and Germany. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has announced new restrictions, such as the closure of schools for three weeks, in an attempt to stop the escalation. It is inevitable, therefore, that the wave will also have an impact on Catalonia. So the question is whether we will be able to contain it to manageable levels or whether the virus will run amok again. Let us remember that the situation in ICUs is worse now than it was before the previous waves, attending younger and younger people because they are the ones who have not been vaccinated.
Precisely, if something invites optimism it is the increase in the number of doses arriving, which are allowing immunisation at a rate, this Thursday, of 60,000 people a day. If we are able to maintain this pace, and even increase it to half a million a week, it will be possible to arrive in summer with the vulnerable population vaccinated and very advanced general immunisation. The European Union has a lot to lose over distribution of vaccines. If in the end the EU, or at least some important states, such as Germany, have to resort to the Russian vaccine Sputnik, it will be a failure for the Commission, which is driving the process at European level.
Precisely because it is now beginning to look possible to start a process of mass vaccination as has been done in places such as the United Kingdom or Israel, it is essential to realise that it would be highly irresponsible to take risks. We must be strict in compliance with the restrictions, especially in terms of not mixing cohabitation bubbles, in the hope that in a matter of weeks some of these measures can be loosened and can give oxygen to the catering sector and the restaurant and hotel sector can be given some breathing space.
We just need to make one last effort, especially during the Easter holidays, to keep the pandemic under control. If everyone does their bit, both citizens and administrations, the summer might look very different.