The easing of lockdown in optimism and prudence

Today bars and restaurants are reopening, after 37 days limited to take away or home service. Also theatres, cinemas, auditoriums and concert halls. The range of shops that can recover their activity is also extended (including shops over 800 sq. m, except shopping centres). In sports, outdoor facilities, gyms and swimming pools are allowed to reopen. And in education, extracurricular activities are resumed. All of this, however, is subject to capacity and time limitations, because the night curfew and weekend perimeter curfew are maintained. This is, therefore, the beginning of the easing of restrictions in Catalonia after the second wave of the pandemic. A moment that invites us to be optimistic, to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to recover breathing spaces. The effects of covid-19 are various, but one is the social and emotional armour it forces us to wear, and this must be taken into account.

At the same time, however, it is worth remembering cava effect that occurred in the last week of June and at the beginning of July: the explosion with which we left behind the long confinement of spring, and which kept us all summer in contained but too high levels of pandemic, and which had a multiplier effect when the second wave arrived.

As then, optimism comes from data that is improving day by day. The R number continues to be below 0.8 (0.77), the number of positives continues to fall every 24 hours (1,204 compared to 1,937 in the previous assessment) and even the ICUs are reducing the number of patients admitted (514, 13 less). But the decline in the figures does not mean that we have yet reached a good conclusion. These same data, for example, have yet to fall further, but we must not forget that hospital admissions yesterday increased (25 more, for 2,085 total), as did deaths. Therefore, and without losing a shred of optimism, we must bear in mind that more effort is needed to flatten the curve of the second wave and continue to gain ground on the virus and restrictions.

This effort will have to be focused on all those activities where the most conflictive combination can be found: accumulation of people, social activity and little ventilation. And it is true that the first place we think about is bars and restaurants, or concert halls, but we cannot forget that this Friday is Black Friday. The commercial sector is expecting record online sales, and it will be a good indicator that this is the case, because we cannot afford images of crowds in shops either. It is clear that restaurants, concert halls and shops have a lot to say to make everything go well, but as a society, as people, as customers, we also play a key role.

The road to ending restrictions is not an easy one. Some decisions, mistakes and rectifications are complicating it. And it is true that there are gaps in the general management of the pandemic (such as coverage of the economic and social sectors affected). But that is precisely why we must want to complete the recovery in the best possible way.

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