Three years ago Spain went into lockdown. The Government declared a state of alarm due to the pandemic. The coronavirus broke into our everyday life and marked a before and after in human history. In Spain alone, it has left almost 120,000 dead, in addition to more than 13.5 million recorded infections. And in all this time, what lessons have we learned after the ravages of the virus?
Message with the hashtag “I’m staying at home” in the window of a business in Ávila the day after the state of alarm was declared throughout the country due to COVID-19. EFE/ Raúl Sanchidrián
Experts agree that the covid virus pandemic has highlighted the need to pamper both public health and primary care. In general, science, medicine and all this with a necessary investment because “if you invest in research and medicine, you have tangible results”.
It was one of the sentences that the director of the Infectious Diseases Service of the Clinic University of Navarra, José Luis Pozohe explained during a day, organized by this hospital, about what has been learned after the pandemic.
They also participated the professor of the Andalusian School of Public Health Joan Carles March, i the former Minister of Health of Castile and León Verónica Casado. The same that the professor of Microbiology at the University of Navarra Ignacio López-Goñi, and the virologist and immunologist of the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) Margarita del Val.
All of them highlighted what has been learned since then but also the challenges that lie ahead in case a new threat breaks out. In fact, none ruled out a new pandemic caused by another virus. For this reason, they agreed on the need to see health as something global, both animal and human, but also environmental.
Many things wrong, many very good
For Del Pozo, during the pandemic “many things have been done wrong but many very well”. Among them, he highlighted the milestone of obtaining vaccines and drugs in record time. There is also the high vaccination coverage of the Spanish population.
According to the latest data available from Ministry of Health40,730,568 people in Spain have the complete vaccination schedule against covid.
Among several ideas, Del Pozo highlighted the need for the specialties of Emergency and Infectious Diseases, which in countries around us do exist but not in Spain, even though they were so necessary during the pandemic. And he did not overlook that “politics has been a burden for science”.
And it is that according to Del Pozo’s opinion, the weight that should have been given to the experts was not given.
Joan Carles March was of the same opinion, for whom politics “has won the experts” in this pandemic. According to his words, the “partisan political” confrontation during covid hindered the fight against the virus.
March also insisted on the need to increase the “tiny” percentage invested in public health and highlighted the importance of scientific cooperation.
For her part, the former Minister of Health of Castile and Leon defended that during the time she was in office she was always aware that “politics had to follow science and not the other way around”. Thus, he highlighted the importance of health policy ceasing to be a lethal weapon.
Strengthening the role of Public Health and Primary Care and the importance of having a Public Health Law are some of the lessons that covid has taught us, according to Casado. The former councilor acknowledged mistakes during the management of the pandemic, but also assured that at the time they were the best that could be taken.
In his speech, Casado recalled that at the beginning of the pandemic there were no masks, respirators or protective suits and commented how in the negotiations with China for these materials, the United States arrived with briefcases of money and they won the game, they took them.
For his part, López-Goñi criticized the proliferation of those people who pretended to be experts when they were not and the harm done by the bulls spread through social networks about the virus during the pandemic.
After pointing out that there was also a communication crisis, he highlighted some basic ideas on how to communicate in these situations. For the professor, good information in situations such as those experienced by the covid virus pandemic requires the transmission of trust, transparency, rigor, clarity and simplicity.
Prevent future pandemics
And Margarita del Val, who reviewed the work from the CSIC during the pandemic, focused on the importance of global health: “Because beyond human health, much comes from the interaction of animal and environmental health “.
The key for the expert is to anticipate. But in addition, Del Val emphasized the importance of acting on aerosols to prevent future pandemics.