IN the upcoming months, “our social lives will change” stated the president of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, Pere Godoy, who claims this must be accepted sooner rather than later.
At the beginning of March, when the first measures to stop the expansion of the coronavirus were enforced, the idea of this seemed apocalyptic to us, however, now we assume that things will be forever changed.
The government of Spain is still reluctant to set any concrete dates for schools or shops to start reopening, or to announce the gradual lifting of mobility restrictions on residents – except for those under 14 years of age, who from this Sunday will be able to go out for controlled walks.
Whilst we continue to advance through the battle against coronavirus with no perception of a horizon, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has advised individuals to not book summer holidays at this time of uncertainty.
Pere Godoy does not have much hope for the summer either. He contends that we might be able to go to the beach, but all whilst avoiding crowds as much as possible. “Social life as we know it will change in the upcoming months and we will have to comply with the rules. If we go to the beach, it will be in a controlled manner, perhaps with a time and access control to avoid crowds,” he predicts.
In China, the cradle of the pandemic, citizens now need a QR code to certify their state of health. Without it, they still encounter many restrictions on mobility and consumption. This acts as a kind of ‘viral passport,’ a formula which has been proposed to help recover the long-awaited style of life we enjoyed before the pandemic. When asked about this issue, Godoy prefers to speak with “prudence” about this type of control, since European society, he argues, is very different from that of Asia.
Another key study that will determine how the de-escalation phase will be implemented is the result of the seroprevalence study, which has once again been delayed. This plans to test 62,000 people to find out the true extent and transmission of the pandemic across Spain.
For the moment, the detection tests for the disease are being carried out solely under medical prescription. When asked about the possibility of citizens freely accessing the antibody tests (paying for them out of their own pockets), Godoy considers that “the maximum number of tests conducted would contribute favourably towards evidence of the pandemic’s evolution. Given the current situation of “alert” we are going through and with “limited availability” of evidence, “It is logical that the tests be reserved for people with a higher risk of transmission or clinical complications,” he points out.
Likewise, Godoy insists that “a greater amount of evidence does not limit the rate of transmission,” for example people must focus more on “measures such as hand washing, hygiene, surface cleaning, insulation or the use of masks in indicated places.”
“We must not neglect these security measures as these avoid transmission in homes and nursing homes. There is a lot of obsession in the tests but this is not the highest priority to reduce transmission,” he says.