There is an old saying that says: “You cannot have sun on the threshing floor and rain on the nabal”. In fact, it is impossible to suspect without the number of new cases of Covid-19 increasing, however, it is crucial that this increase is as low as possible in order not to reach a situation of uncontrollability that leads to the rupture of the Service's response capacity Nacional de Saúde, which is proven to be the population's only safeguard in response to the pandemic.
Today, as in the beginning of the pandemic, this is at the heart of the matter.
Arriving in October and seven months after the beginning of the confinement forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are confronted with the declaration of the State of Calamity in Portugal, with new limitations on the freedom of movement for people and new limits on activities of certain economic sectors.
Across Europe there is a sharp increase in new cases of infection and Portugal is no exception. At a time when the school year started again with the return to face-to-face classes, and therefore, the resumption of some normal circulation of families, this situation has increased the population's anxiety. I think it is very important to reflect on the past with some serenity in order to better understand the present and prepare for the future.
It is factual to me, even if I have to take my hat off to honorable exceptions, that since the beginning of the deflation and especially during the bathing season, people have been progressively returning to their normal habits. I say this without censorship or morality.
After the violence of the confinement, with fathers and mothers in telework and children of school age, elderly relatives to help and other constraints, it was a balm for families to be able to take vacations, even if conditioned by the rules imposed by the DGS. We have social habits typical of a wonderful country like ours, a social peace appreciated by all of us and boasted by those who visit us. On the other hand, it is known that the Portuguese economy is fragile, based essentially on the tertiary sector, in which tourism stands out.
In a context of a pandemic that sowed a lot of unemployment and poverty, it was an oxygen balloon that was tried to obtain, not least because we agree that the majority of the population started to fear poverty more than pathology. We can agree or not with the political option taken, the future will say whether it was good or bad and there is no medal that does not have its reverse, but we cannot bleach the fact that the population was given a (false) sense of normality, which it comes up against the harsh reality of the unrestrained increase in new cases we have seen.
The virus continues to expand in the community and now that a new confinement is out of the question (let's see), I have to be prepared for the worst. I never know when I receive the news that so-and-so with whom I was in contact tested positive and that I have to be tested or isolated, I never know when the StayAway Covid application identifies me in proximity contacts with a high risk of contagion, I never know when any my children's classmate or school employee tested positive, or even when will I be the first in my network to experience symptoms and test positive, but at any time this can happen and what society expects of me is responsibility.
The question I ask myself is: how can I be part of the solution?
For me to be part of the solution is to be guided by common sense. Do not take the whole family to the supermarket or to a shopping center (for example) when one member of the household is sufficient to make the necessary purchases.
Vaccinate me against seasonal flu as a health professional. Voluntarily installing the StayAway Covid application, which is a tool that, although it needs to be improved and better explained to the population, is undoubtedly an asset in combating the pandemic, allowing the identification of contagion lines. Follow the safety and hygiene rules imposed by DGS in my work and in all the institutions I attend. Identify and notify those entitled whenever they verify that the same rules are not being complied with, within the framework of civics and by their own procedures.
Exercise positive pedagogy in my children, so that they know how they can protect themselves and be part of the solution, never bleaching the problematic situation we live in, but adapting the language to their age group. Be very rational in interpreting my body's signals, guiding me through information from reliable sources such as the DGS or Ministry of Health and never through what comes to me through social networks and Whatsapp groups, always prioritizing contact with Health24 or the Occupational Health Service of the institution where I work.
Above all, it helps to keep living and do the things that make me, my wife and my children happy, such as playful, sporting and cultural activities, family outings, dining out, among other activities because the world was not thought to stop and the economy has to go as smoothly as possible. Of course, always complying with safety and hygiene standards!
I am optimistic about the future. I belong to a population that has a sense of responsibility and a spirit of sacrifice that have been the hallmark of nine centuries of history. We can never forget that if in March the country went into general confinement, it was very much at the expense of pressure from civil society. I am sure that the same civil society will know how to live up to this new reality, as we run a marathon and not a 100m sprint.
Prudence blames, fear petrifies. Courage Portugal!
The author writes according to the old spelling.