Towards the end of restrictions

2 min
An 8-year-old boy, teaching remotely in a January lockup

The idea that we are moving towards the end of covid restrictions is beginning to take hold. This is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it serves to move towards a certain social normality and, therefore, also to encourage the much-needed economic recovery; on the other hand, it may give the impression that the pandemic has been overcome and that no measures need to be taken, which is not yet the case. Epidemiological data have begun to decline, but we are still at very high levels of infection and a long way from emptying ICUs and hospitals. Therefore, we cannot confuse wishful thinking with reality, nor should we rush more than necessary, as has already happened in other phases of this long health crisis that has claimed too many lives. It is therefore in this middle ground that the Government's announcement to suspend quarantines in schools in the near future and to reopen nightlife as of February 11 must be understood. In the first case, it is a request from both paediatricians and families; both would also like the compulsory use of masks for children in the playground and classrooms to expire, which will not happen yet. It seems prudent to postpone it a little longer and make it coincide with the moment when it will also cease to be mandatory for adults in the street. It is true that, after so many months, a few more weeks won't make a difference: we can assume the inconvenience for a while longer. The day masks come off there will be a strong sense of psychological liberation that could be mistaken for an end to the pandemic. Therefore, it is better not to whip up false euphoria. It is true that there are countries that have stepped on the accelerator of the end of restrictions. Denmark would be the most remarkable case, but it is a country that has made very radical changes throughout the health crisis, and they have not always worked.

And while the debate on the end of restrictions is gaining momentum and thus giving us an injection of hope, even more positive is the good pace of progress made by Hipra's vaccine, which has already received authorisation to enter the third phase of trials. And not only this: the pharmaceutical company from Girona assures that its serum will provide more antibodies than Pfizer's and that it is effective for all variants. Thus, two years later, it can already be said that the combination of vaccines and restrictions is undoubtedly the method that will ultimately be used to defeat covid. Naturally, the learning curve has been hard and painful. Many mistakes have been made along the way that have had consequences on collective health and life. In any case, now that we are moving towards a gradual end to restrictions, we should approach it with humility and the necessary dose of self-criticism. We should emerge from this shock with some lessons learnt, starting with the need to give priority to research and technology as engines of progress and welfare, as well as to strengthening the health system and taking special care of young people (the importance of their school and academic life) and the elderly (especially in nursing homes).