Not So Fast, 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19. Our Reality.
When I began subtitling my blog at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, my intention had been to do a day by day account of how things developed, hence the numbers after the first month. By now, it's been going on for so long, that life just gets in the way of reporting every day. Even when I write frequently, since there's little that's new, I don't tend to mention anything about Covid. I am getting the feeling, however, that this pandemic is going to stretch into the rest of the year, and possibly well into the next.
Contagion is up in the clouds. On a national level, it's around 650 per hundred thousand. The numbers are driven by the young, where contagion is close to two thousand per hundred thousand in the 20-29 group. This group, precisely, is the one that is going to start getting vaccinated here, in Galicia, as of next week.
That said, without a state of alarm, it's up to the regional governments and their courts to install any kind of restrictions. Many regions have installed a curfew between one and six in the morning. Others, like Navarra, have had the courts strike down any such general restriction. In Galicia, I believe the court is upholding the decision to close night life in townships that are declared at maximum level, and the decision is pending on limiting get-togethers to six indoors, and ten outdoors, as well as a possible curfew.
Hospitalizations, the canary in the coal mine, are also going up, though not as alarmingly as during the winter. Most of those hospitalized and in the ICU are younger than 40. One of our newspapers carried a story on a young, 22 year old woman, with bilateral pneumonia. There are breakthrough contagions, too, among people who have been vaccinated. Most of those, however, have mild or no symptoms, which bodes well for the future, when at least most of the Spanish population will be vaccinated.
The problem in that future is the interaction with people from abroad who will not have received the vaccine. I assume that most people will not be able to board an airplane without a Covid vaccine passport, but other European visitors may well come by road, which is not normally controlled. Much of the world outside the borders of Europe, North America, and other rich areas, are not vaccinated, nor will they be for, probably, years. Covid is here to stay for a good while.
Already, the health minister has mentioned that it looks like we will all need to get a booster shot sometime in the near future. In that case, will the massive vaccinations be around for a long time, or will the booster shot fall to our local doctor? If the last is the case, then regions like Galicia and Madrid need to hire more, and open clinics they have closed, particularly in Madrid. Right now, the brunt of the new contagion is being handled by the local practitioners, who also have to deal with their regular patients. I finished one of my medications, and tried to get an appointment to renew my prescriptions. Normally, I can find a moment the day after I call. This time, I called on Wednesday, and got my appointment for next Tuesday. Some clinics are even worse, offering appointments a month later.
Last year, we were hoping that, through our shared ordeal, we would change, become more accepting, realize that there are things much more important than profits, that the health service is one of the most important services our tax money can buy. But we haven't, and we won't. We didn't change over a hundred years ago, when the Spanish flu left even more dead in its wake than Covid, and we won't change now. We must be the only species that, upon banging its head on a rock, will keep banging and banging it until its head splits open.