There is a month left until Christmas, although the illusion that these dates awaken in other years seems to be dormant in the face of the serious situation that the world is experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this 2020 the reunions of friends or families will be marked by restrictions and security measures. A not very encouraging scenario, which Margarita del Val tries to downplay: “That all the bad thing in this life is that we will not be able to celebrate the Christmas meal. It is a lesser evil ”. The CSIC virologist assures in an interview with S Fashion that we should not get demoralized, but “You have to look for alternatives” because “this is going to happen.”
While acknowledging that “The virus will stay”, believes that it will “like a benign catarrhal virus, like the flu, which is not so benign. ” In any case, he insists that the exceptional scenario in which we find ourselves “It is not for life”, so it encourages “making efforts and trying to get the positive.”
Of course, as he usually does, Del Val wanted to be clear when predicting how long the pandemic will last: “I think it will not be just 2020, they are going to be the years of the pandemic. There is one route left and we have to prepare, it is a marathon”, He assured. In this sense, he has argued that we must know the “rules” of the virus to try to fight it, “and as long as there are enough people who have never faced it and who do not have immunity, it will multiply uncontrollably.” “If in June we had 5% of the Spanish population that had already overcome the virus, we had 95% left. If maybe now we have the 80% of the Spanish population that has not yet overcome the virus… Calculate in proportion how much time is left. Years. Of course, not months, “he added.
The problem of Spain
The virologist maintains that the only enemy in this pandemic is the virus, beyond the political beliefs or economic intentions that the rulers may have, so “we have to be all together and, in addition, act early.” However, it highlights that the main problem in Spain is that “when they put measures on us early, we don’t accept them as citizens. And these measures are the only ones that will not harm either the economy or society ”. To support your theory, remember the decisions made in China, Taiwan, South Korea O Japan: “There they reacted immediately and their economies are growing.”
Another obstacle that exists in our country, and in the rest of Europe, when it comes to controlling the pandemic is that “we have individual rights over collective ones”. “For example, In Spain, you cannot be forced to vaccinate because the common good is not above the individual, unlike in Eastern societies ”, he specifies. When asked if this obligation would be an unethical action, Del Val has been forceful: “If people are dying from not getting vaccinated, what would be unethical would be not to vaccinate “. However, he thinks that in Spain it will not be necessary to put the compulsory vaccines because “there is a lot of confidence in them.”
The suspicion that the population has about being vaccinated is unfounded, mainly, due to the uncertainty surrounding its safety and efficacy. Del Val, even being aware that it could have long-term side effects, is in favor of vaccination: “If you ask me if the vaccine It will have a complication in 20 years, we will not be able to know that now, but, ethically, I change it to protect the 100,000 dead that there are every month”.
Regarding when these drugs will arrive, the virologist says she has no idea: “The doses will be in December or January, but doses of something that we do not know if it is effective or if it protects against infection. That is a black box ”. However, he notes that, while “now vaccine clinical trials are entering their most difficult time,” “the scrutiny capacity of drug agencies is now superior: it goes fast in certain things, but there is a lot of security”.
Clear messages to combat denialism
During the pandemic, the ‘deniers’, those people who do not believe in masks, or in vaccines, or in the existence of the virus even. Del Val claims that he is not going to bother arguing with them because “They are theories that fall by their own weight.” He points out that whoever defends them “is not because they believe their logic, because they don’t have it, but because they are afraid. To the unknown, to the uncertainty, to the future. And you cannot give certainties. There are no certainties, there never have been in life. People embrace these delusional theories because they need to hold onto something”.
On the other hand, there are other public figures, such as Miguel Bosé or Donald Trump, who have supported these theories, giving them a notable relevance that can be dangerous, since, according to the expert, “Spreading them hurts”. Given this, what the Government must do is “Give clear information” to combat denialism.
The pandemic has exacerbated inequality
In science, as in other fields, there is a great inequality between men and women, especially in relevant positions. “In our field, biomedicine, a few more women start researching and at the level of group leaders there are about a quarter. It goes down as you go up steps. And that is same in all society”, Complaint Del Val.
With the pandemic, the virologist affirms that this inequality has increased and that we must fight against it: “In science it has been seen that during the pandemic, men published significantly more than women, which have had to take care of more children and adults. And this is worldwide. And we know what happens in more fields. Inequalities are increasing, and that must be avoided”.
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