The view from my sister’s home in Galicia, Spain: the Cies Islands. Photo by Hermes Solenzol.

Coronavirus Chronicles 1: Bad News from Spain and Italy

At what point does the cure become worse than the disease?

That thought has been popping repeatedly in my head these days. It seems that not only we are heading for a pandemic that will kill millions of people, but it also seems that the economy will have its worse downturn since the Great Depression. This is because the prescribed reaction to the epidemic is to shut down everything except essential services. In a capitalist society that needs to grow constantly or crash, this seems like really bad news.

I grew up in Spain, where I still have an aging father, eight siblings and countless cousins, nieces and nephews. I have been reading no-stop El País, the main Spanish newspaper. The country is in lock-down and being quite serious about it. My sister just told me that they are fining people 200 to 600 euros for being outside without proper justification. People are only allowed out of their houses to buy food, medicines, cigarettes and newspapers. Oh, and to walk their dogs. My brother in Madrid tells me that people are renting dogs to get outside. I don’t know if he’s joking, but the web is full of adds for that. My sister is lucky, she lives in a country house with garden, swimming pool and a splendid view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cies Islands (see the picture at the head of this article). My brother, on the other hand, considers himself lucky because his apartment faces south and has a balcony. He pities his neighbors across the street, who never see the sun.

I asked a friend in Barcelona if she gets sun in her apartment. She said yes, and that she has good views. I sent her a picture of my backyard in Los Angeles, with fig trees sprouting new leaves and the bougainvillea starting to bloom. She sent me back a picture of her horse. She is allowed to walk it in the corral, but not to ride it outside. A clear case of speciesism: why do dogs get better treatment than horses?

My heart aches for Italy, the country where I was born, where the situation is even worse. The hospitals are overwhelmed and in some places so many people are dying that they are storing the coffins in the churches and the Army has to come in to take the corpses away. Home confinement in Italy is even more strict than in Spain.

Increases in numbers of cases of COVID-19 in some countries. Source: El Pais.

However, despite their draconian restrictions on people’s movement, Spain and Italy are still in the exponential phase of the epidemic. El País regularly publishes a page with all kinds of data about the evolution of the epidemic in Spain and around the world. You can see a graph from El País above (‘EE.UU.’ is the USA). Everywhere except in China and South Korea, the number of cases keeps increasing exponentially. Which makes me wonder: is home confinement really working? It did work in China, in the province of Hubei where the epidemic started, but their confinement measures were even stricter than those of Spain and Italy. On the other hand, South Korea seems to be stopping the epidemic without home confinement, practicing a range of measures that have been called “test, trace and treat” (the ‘3 Ts’?). Can we do this here? I will take a look at that question in the next article of the Coronavirus Chronicles.

--

--

--

UCLA professor. Neuroscientist doing research on pain. Writes about science, philosophy, politics and kinky sex. https://hermessolenzol.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

5 Herbs To Help Lower Your Blood Sugar.

Do You Need to Rid Your Body of Heavy Metals?

How Health Care And Community-Based Human Services Organizations Are Partnering For Better Health…

Engaging patients and having the patience to make it work

Natural Remedies for Allergies

The Perilous, Secret World of Steroids for Female Bodybuilders

THROUGH THE EYES OF ANOTHER: AN INTERVIEW WITH HANS JØRGEN WIBERG

World Health Day 2021: Why We Celebrate World Health Day?

World Health Day 2021: Why We Celebrate World Health Day?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Hermes Solenzol

Hermes Solenzol

UCLA professor. Neuroscientist doing research on pain. Writes about science, philosophy, politics and kinky sex. https://hermessolenzol.com

More from Medium

Morality Question: To Kill or to Murder via Nature’s Eagles VS Savage War in Ukraine

Ukraine War Challenges Israel’s Relationship With Jews Worldwide

Te Ara Tūhura: The Hillary Trail Gets an Upgrade

A Sweet Story For Those Who Are Attracted To The Night