Weaver Shell | València (EFE) , “normality” has almost fully recovered and the population lives with a virus already contained thanks to preventive measures and vaccination.
Experts consulted by EFE assure that the pandemic has meant a “before and after” for the Public Health system, whose structure would need to be “reinforced” in the face of future health crises, they warn that we must be “always vigilant” in case new ones arrive variants of the virus and recognize that “some progress is being made” regarding preparation for potential new crises.
The disappearance of masks on public transport -although their use continues in health and social health centers or pharmacies- has been the last step towards restoring that “normality” that we lost on March 14, 2020, the day it was declared the state of alarm and began a confinement that lasted 100 days, until June 21 of that same year.
Since then we have experienced curfews, perimeter closures, restrictions such as the “covid passport” to access some venues or the suspension of events, competitions, concerts or popular festivals such as Las Fallas, La Magdalena or Les Fogueres, which three years later will return to be held without restrictions.
First case and first death
In the Valencian Community, the first official contagion was confirmed on February 25, 2020 in a 32-year-old man who, upon returning from a trip with friends from Milan, presented mild symptoms and went to the emergency room of the La Plana Hospital in Castellón. province where he resided.
This case was followed by a trickle of infections and, although at first the traceability of all of them could be determined, in a few weeks it was impossible to do so and the first of seven waves began during which various variants of the coronavirus have been present and outbreaks have been experienced. in halls of residence, companies, schools, hospitals or nursing homes.
Seven days after the first positive case, the Community confirmed the first death from coronavirus in Spain and in all of Europe. It had occurred on February 13 at the Arnau de Vilanova hospital in Valencia, initially due to a poor evolution of a respiratory problem in a Valencian who had traveled to Nepal.
After that first death, nearly 10,400 deaths have been reported in the Community, many of them in nursing homes and especially during the third wave of the pandemic (January-February 2021), since the administration of vaccines against covid-19 had just started.
Vaccinations: a before and after
The administration of vaccines against covid represented “a before and after” in the evolution of the pandemic and the puncture that Batiste, 81, received on December 27, 2020, was the start of a massive vaccination in the Valencian Community, both in adults and minors.
At present, 11,271,000 doses have already been administered and there are almost 4.4 million people with the complete regimen and in just over 3 million the first booster dose has been administered, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.
The vaccination, which was not without controversy after some politicians received their dose despite not being part of risk groups, meant a turning point in the pandemic, since its administration, together with the covid infection, has allowed to reach high levels of immunity in the population, limit its impact and reduce serious infections and deaths related to the virus.
Three years, “one world” for Public Health
The deputy director of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, Herme Vanaclocha, warns that it seems that “we have reached normality” but we must be “always vigilant” in case new variants of the virus appear and measures have to be taken again.
In less than 24 hours “people go around the world, but microorganisms too,” says Vanaclocha, who in statements to EFE underlines the importance that vaccination has had in the recovery of this normality.
“It seems like three years but for us it has been a world, there is a before and after the pandemic for health workers in general, but for Public Health workers it has been much worse”, asserts the deputy director of Epidemiology, who claims that this area “is also a part of the health system”.
He confesses that Public Health professionals feel “disappointed” because there is talk of a health crisis focusing on Primary and Specialized Care, but “nobody thinks that the Public Health structure also needs to be strengthened so that it does not become outdated. Public health is not seen until there are problems, but it also exists.
For this reason, he considers it necessary to reinforce it and increase its capacities since, he warns, the current professionals will retire “in a short time” and there is no generational change: “Nobody wants to come, it is not dignified work and we earn much less than the rest of the companions”.
Better prepared for new crises
The epidemiologist and researcher at the Health and Biomedical Research Foundation of the Valencian Community (Fisabio) Salvador Peiró believes that after this three-year period “some progress is being made” regarding preparation for potential new health crises and, in logistical aspects, today we have strategic reserves of masks, respirators, drugs and vaccines.
According to him, although in an “exasperatingly slow” way, the institutional configuration of Spanish public health is being renewed, but the “renewal and expansion of its human resources, which will hardly be able to carry out the tasks that will be imposed on them, is “less or not at all advanced”. the new regulations”.
He points out that “normalization” returns us to “normal” health problems such as chronic non-communicable diseases – heart failure, bronchial diseases, diabetes, hypertension or cancer – and the approach to health determinants such as tobacco, sedentary lifestyle, diet or inequalities.
He assures that the approach to chronicity requires a “powerful and very well coordinated” National Health System (NHS) that, however, is “showing cracks” on many sides – primary care, mental health, waiting lists, professional disaffection… -, not only because of the “cuts” during the economic crisis or pandemic stress, but also because of “obsolescence of the institutional design”.
In his opinion, the “inability” to address the organizational transformation of the SNS (especially in a context of political polarization) poses a significant risk in the face of any new health crisis and, even without a crisis, for the health of the population.”
And he affirms that it is “difficult to summarize” a period that has removed “all the corners of our world in multiple spaces” and “so rapidly changing”, in which a period of massive pre-vaccination and pre-omicron has passed, “when the main strategy of health protection was social distancing”, until the post-micron period and the “progressive normalization of social life”. EFE