Last night, my former boss (he of the draining the swimming pool expertise, but who is actually one of the cleverest people you could meet as well) wrote to me with a long reasoning about the problems with putting everyone into lock-down and the economic effect of doing this. Only three weeks ago (three weeks? Feels like about 10 years!) I probably would have agreed with him – in fact, I posted on Twitter when I landed in a deserted Budapest Airport, that it is ‘not the Corona Virus that is going to kill us, but the economy’ (if you think I’m being a smug know-it all cow, you can check it!!) But then we got to Spain, and I started to see things a bit differently.
So I am going to try and explain what we have seen here and why we are putting on such a ‘brave face’ – or at least, that is how it might appear – because, I suggest, if we (in the Czech Republic/United Kingdom) don’t follow what Italy and Spain are now doing (and China, South Korea, Japan have done before us) – then we are going to be in for a very terrible shock.
First, to explain Spain – it is much more than just Madrid or Galicia! We are in Southern Andalusia, a very long way away from where all the terrible things are happening. I am not sure how many confirmed cases there are in this region today, but I think it is less than 1,000, and only a handful of people have died – all of whom had underlying health issues. Our ‘curve’ is flattening every day!
But do you know why that is, and why the numbers are so low? Because we have all (the whole country) been put into full-on lock-down. Which means no going out (only one of us at any time, and only to get food or go to the pharmacy). And even though we joke about it and try to pretend we are having lots of fun, it is really bloody difficult… but isn’t that better than making someone ill or catching it ourselves? I suggest that because of this, whilst the numbers in Spain, at the moment, are terrible, they are not so huge if you put them into the context of the 45 million people that live here, and the percentage of areas that are hardest hit (only two in Spain).
But think about what might have happened if the lock-down hadn’t been put in place when it was: In Madrid, hundreds are dying every single day, just as in Bergamo. Had the Spanish or Italians known what they know now, for sure they would have gone into lock-down the minute one person showed up with serious symptoms. Thankfully they shut everyone down before other cities began to get to many cases and then started seeing their numbers growing too. If that hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be looking at hundreds dying every night, but thousands or tens of thousands… and that would be pretty awful, wouldn’t it?
We all know that even if we obey the lock-down principles, it is not going to stop the virus completely. But it will slow the spread down and enable the hospitals to catch up a bit, for vaccines/other treatments to get developed, and for companies to produce more of the equipment, protective clothing, etc, which is now running out. In theory, according to the experts, that might only take a few more weeks – if everyone is in PROPER lock-down, and follows the washing hands, mask, gloves, distancing principles, etc. So yes the economy will and is taking a bashing, but maybe it wont be for too long…
However. If people keep going out and ignoring what is happening elsewhere, just because they haven’t been hit very hard yet, or because they think they are young and fit and wont get it, then God help everyone. Hospitals in Spain and Italy are at breaking point. If you are in the UK or CR, don’t think that that is because ours/yours are so much better – these two countries have consistently been rated as having some of the very best health service in the world. Soon, in the UK for sure, and possibly in the CR too, numbers will really start escalating and people will be dying. Which will mean more borders closing and businesses continuing to collapse. How will the economy look then?
I would be very happy to be told I am wrong – this is all just my own thinking (I have lots of time for doing that) and frustration when I read Facebook and Twitter every morning. But if you can’t give a good reason why I am wrong, then PLEASE JUST STAY AT HOME!!!