the 12th October bridge puts preventive closures to the test

the 12th October bridge puts preventive closures to the test

Traffic in Madrid after the state of alarm. (EFE)

Traffic in Madrid after the state of alarm. (EFE)

The speed with which the Government has moved during the 24 hours prior to the declaration of the state of alarm in the Community of Madrid after the paralyzation The closure in the capital of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM) has a clear and obvious reason: the bridge of October 12, a national holiday that is celebrated this Monday, and the thousands of displacements that can occur if there are no restrictions .It is one of the busiest weekends of the year, one of the high points of autumn along with the Todos los Santos bridge and the Constitution bridge, with the advantage that the weather in October is usually friendlier and the days are still relatively long, which in other years has favored national tourism. In recent years, the DGT foresaw around five million displacements these three days. The perimeter reopening of Madrid at such an inopportune moment as Thursday, October 10, facilitated that, even without reaching that number of movements, interprovincial mobility was reactivated.

The bridge of All Saints, the Constitution and the Christmas holidays are the next hot spots on the calendar

In that line were the words of the spokeswoman for the Government of the Community of Castilla-La Mancha, Blanca Fernández, when this Thursday she acknowledged that the reopening of Madrid worried them. The Castellanomanchega community It was one of the most affected regions during the first wave of coronavirus, and with a cumulative incidence of 410 (Madrid is at 647), one of the worst-off regions in the country. It should be remembered, however, that a large part of the relationship of the Castilian community is labor, with a large number of workers who go to CAM every day.

Therefore, the decision to declare a state of alarm with such haste, given the apparent stabilization of Madrid data, responds above all to the desire to contain contagions within the city of Madrid and each of its municipalities, trying to prevent the bridge from directly impacting the number of cases in other communities, for example, beach destinations such as Valencian Community. In other words, it is a preventive measure at times of the year that, due to their circumstances, favor mobility. One step beyond the appeal to “responsibility”Individual that did last Thursday Fernando Simon. Two more bridges and a big Christmas break are on the horizon.

Zaragoza has decided to go back to phase 2 during the Pilar festivities: “If we didn’t do it, maybe we were in 1,000 cases within two weeks”

The performance of Government in Madrid It is not the only one that has been carried out on this bridge to try to contain the impact of the holidays. Zaragoza, for example, has decided to return to a kind of phase 2, with limited hours and capacity in the hotel industry, before the Pilar festivities that take place these days. The city appealed to the “principle of prudence” in this case, since it has been stabilized for weeks at an incidence of between 200 and 300 per 100,000 inhabitants.

It is enough to compare this case with that of neighboring Huesca, also in phase 2, to understand the different nature of these measures, which try to reduce the impact of social behaviors such as mobility between regions or festive leisure on the number of cases instead of reacting once the outbreak has run riot, that is, anticipating possible events that impact the curve .

© Provided by El Confidencial

Héctor G. BarnésThe proposal of two economists collides head-on with the opinions of epidemiologists and Public Health experts, who recall that it may be counterproductive

“We could all feel like partying, but if in two weeks we have 1,000 cases we are not amused even the hotel industry”, recalls Federico Arribas, professor of the Department of Microbiology, Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the Zaragoza’s University. “Even if they can get something out, we were going to have to lock up in two weeks, so either we have common sense or it will go wrong. This year they don’t play the holidays. Although we are in 300 or 400 cases, which is not a situation like the one in Madrid because of the work that is being done, there are not five cases either, but if we get in with crowds on the 19th or 20th we can plant in 1,000 cases and we have it mounted, because if we close the hospitality industry is annoying and the rest of the businesses ”It is preferable, he adds, small sacrifices that allow the maintenance of normality. “It’s common sense, because in the long run the open bar it does more harm than good ”.

This is the strategy that seems to make more and more sense among Public Health measures, as recalled by Salvador Peiró, researcher in Public Health at the Foundation for the Promotion of Sanitary and Biomedical Research of the Valencian Community (Fisabio), pointing out that even in the regions with less impact, the key is to try to reduce the incidence as much as possible. “Schools and jobs have the transmission that their surroundings have, and the way to control it is to reduce transmission, reducing contacts but maintaining productive and school activity.” The perimeter limitation of Madrid is a plaster placed before the wound of exporting community transmission to other regions opens.

Preventive confinement?

A change in perspective that may be reminiscent of the proposal of the two Nobel Laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, who proposed a strict confinement between December 1 and 20 to “save” Christmas. His vision was, above all, economic, while the logic followed for the hasty closure of Madrid is epidemiological. In other words, as Julián Domínguez, member of the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene explained to El Confidencial, criteria such as “an increase in the accumulated incidence or of critical patients in ICUs”. Meters that, although they seem to have moderated, still continue to make Madrid the region of Europe more punished for the coronavirus.

“Holiday periods like Christmas are problematic because travel and contacts with older people are increasing”

To some extent, it could be said that both measures are antithetical, since the Nobel Prize winners proposed a strict closure with a final reward, which is to enjoy Christmas (and its parties, meetings and mobility) based on a low incidence of cases, and practically taking it for granted that there will be a major regrowth in january. Ironically, the spring lockdown has more to do with the Nobel proposal than this bridge: the speed with which it was entered. new normal it could be interpreted as a relaxation measure to reactivate the economy, largely based on tourism, as soon as possible.

Arribas gives the example of strategy followed by Aragon in recent months, in which the increase in cases has been halted after a large rise in June or July by introducing restrictions at the same time as I was trying to keep business open: “Controls were established, local festivals were canceled but it was successful, because the economy was saved despite the increase in cases, what cannot be allowed are massive departures.” A third intermediate way that is easier to apply and reasonable in the medium term in the “difficult balance between health and economy”.

Zaragoza has called for the solidarity of its neighbors not to celebrate El Pilar. (EFE)

© Provided by El Confidencial
Zaragoza has called for the solidarity of its neighbors not to celebrate El Pilar. (EFE)

Zaragoza has called for the solidarity of its neighbors not to celebrate El Pilar. (EFE)

In this case, the vacation period is not conceived as the end of the journey or reward, but rather as a potential source of problems. Which suggests that similar measures can be play on successive bridges, especially in regions with a high level of incidence and from where a large number of trips are made. That is, Madrid. Christmas is marked in red in the calendar of all Public Health experts and, as Peiró recalls, “it is a very complicated period because there is much more mobility, people return to their homes and there is more relationship with the elderly over the course of several weeks ”.


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