The second Christmas of the covid and the day of the groundhog

It seemed like no, but the holidays of 2021 they will be practically the same as 2020 in terms of restrictions and fear of contagion. How does this affect the collective spirit? EL PERIÓDICO has once again interviewed readers who last year contributed to the report on the first christmas of the coronavirus so that they share their vision of things.

In the midst of the hecatomb, the chronicles published a year ago to describe the first Christmas of the pandemic were decidedly optimistic: most of them omitted, precisely, the possibility that it was only the first, and they avoided – with a hopeful Christmas spirit – the option of a second one. ‘The strangest Christmas of our lives’, he titled, without going any further, this newspaper, with that definite article at the top that affected its unique character. No, it wasn’t the weirdest Christmas of our lives; it was the first of the strangest Christmases of our lives, and this one that hangs over our heads will be the second, and no one reasonable is capable of assuring that there will not be a third. What is likely to contribute most to the widespread unrest is the reiteration of signals from one year to the next. If it was not for the substantial difference vaccines make, it seems that everything remains the same.

In an interview published by EL PERIÓDICO on December 9, 2020, the then director of the Institut Català de la Salut –now ‘conseller’– Josep Maria Argimon, predicted that Catalonia would be immune in autumn and that Christmas 2021 would be “better”. That day, at the gates of the first Christmas of the covid, Salut counted 1,469 new infections and 37 deaths. One year later, on December 9, 2021, the data was 4,678 and 6 respectively. The patients admitted were then 1,519, and a year later, 935. All of which supports the discourse that without the vaccine we would be immersed in the sanitary pandemonium, but it also serves as a seat for melancholy. The question of whether this will ever end (not the optimistic ‘when’, but the pessimistic ‘if’) is heard more frequently, and the catastrophism of those who claim that it will be the same for the rest of our lives extends. Easy to say, and catastrophizing is always attractive, but it is still the kind of childish indicator of a certain state of mind.

“I believe that this disease will not go away, that it will be one more disease, like the flu, and that every year we will have to get vaccinated. And that people will continue to die, although of course not so many as then & rdquor ;. Ainara gonzalez is one of the readers of this newspaper who a year ago contributed to a report on the first Christmas of the coronavirus. With that “then & rdquor; refers to the time his uncle died, during the first wave, when people looked dumbfounded, unable to comprehend what was happening, and everything was new and there were not enough ucis and the corpses piled up in the corridors of the hospitals. His way of being in the pandemic has evolved, like everyone else’s, but he is no less attached to life due to living with a pessimistic vision of the future. “The family was very affected by the death of my uncle, it scared us a lot, we did not know how to act, but time has passed and now we are more comfortable, and In my opinion, you have no choice but to continue with your life. It conditions you, of course, but what you can’t do is allow it to stop you cold. & Rdquor ;.

“This disease will not go away, it will be one more disease, like the flu, and every year we will have to get vaccinated,” says Ainara González

The pandemic is still there, alone the coordinates of our concerns have been modified. Returning to the headlines, the twenty-second month of the pandemic in Spain, this December 2021, began like this: “Six positives of the ómicron & rdquor; strain registered in Spain. “The digital divide of the covid passport (the third sector asks Salut to send the document by post) & rdquor ;. “Spain rules out making compulsory vaccination against covid & rdquor ;.” Are the three axes of the ‘covid debate’ in recent weeks: omicron, passport and compulsory vaccination. None of which existed a year ago. What has not changed from one December to the next – what has been the hallmark of the pandemic from the beginning, since one day we woke up in a world with four walls and a balcony to applaud – is the debate on restrictions. Last year it was clear that there would be, they were decreed with reasonable notice and were the subject of criticism and analysis for several weeks. This year they did not seem so obvious, and they have taken longer, but hospital pressure finally imposed them. We hadn’t left it behind. Christmas is once again a mined territory because of the limitations.

“A few weeks ago it seemed that things were going better. I the truth, I was facing Christmas with more enthusiasm than a year ago, but now everything has become complicated again. I do not know the others, but in my case it wears a lot. In the end I get the impression that it will be very similar to last year. There are more and more acquaintances who test positive and it is increasingly difficult to stay & rdquor ;. A year ago, Montse Grau She faced Christmas with a very specific regret: they were the first she was going to spend without her grandmother, who died in January, right in the middle of the holidays. Naturally, the unhealthy air that was breathed by the pandemic and the restrictions was not an incentive. The fact is that, 12 months later, the air is still just as unhealthy. “But the feeling is different, because last year you expected it, instead this year it seemed that the light was beginning to see a little, and I think that’s why it’s being harder to assimilate & rdquor ;.

“This year it seemed that the light was beginning to see a bit, and I think that is why it is being harder to assimilate”, says Montse Grau

At the beginning of December 2020, the Government and the autonomous communities approved the action plan for the holidays, which included the prohibition of travel between autonomies (except to meet with family and friends), limited to 10 the number of participants in social gatherings and established a curfew at 1.30 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, among other things. This year, the constant calls for prudence that the health authorities have been making since the beginning of the sixth wave have led to a new curfew, new closures and new limitations about meetings, among other things. It is a time of uncertainty again, if it ever has ceased to be.

«Look, a month or a month and a half ago I would have told you that this Christmas was going to be very different of last year, but it will no longer be like that. A year ago, in this newspaper, Irene Pardo explained the family decision to abide by the instructions of the authorities: the seven groups that used to meet at Christmas had opted for separate celebrations. At the center of the decision were her grandmothers, one septuagenarian, the other octogenarian, and the need to protect them. This year it seemed not, but in the end it will be the same. «On Christmas day one or two people will go to see them for a while, in the afternoon. And maybe after the end of the year, it depends how everything is, we will consider going to visit the whole family, but we will see. And not just as a precaution, it is because there have been many cases of positive in our environment ».

“A month ago I would have said that this Christmas was going to be very different from last year, but it will no longer be like that”, says Irene Pardo

“It’s there, caught with tweezers & rdquor ;, says Montse Grau, referring to the possibility of celebrating a great meal Christmas Day. The Grau family debated between canceling the great celebration or carrying it out “with all the precautions & rdquor ;, among them, subjecting each guest to an antigen test, as millions of Spaniards plan to do, judging by the speed with which the evidence has disappeared from pharmacies (in the same hysterical way as supermarket toilet paper in the early days of the virus). It is one of the great differences of this Christmas with respect to the previous one, the test that a while ago was reliable and now it seems that it is not so. the dangerous placebo whose abuse could put the icing on the cake to the sixth wave. There has been nothing less than a progression of equals between the calls of the authorities to distrust the test and its outrageous purchase by the citizens.

Sergio López was another of those interviewed a year ago. So, his state of mind was that of the vast majority of citizens: someone extremely disgusted with restrictions as well as with the obligation to spend the holidays away from family. Twelve months later, Christmas calls to climb a few levels on the ladder of beauty (“This year is going to be different & rdquor ;, I said, in the middle of the month) they have been diminished again by reality. Contact with an infected person has forced him to confine themselves and to sacrifice the first part of the festivities, that was going to happen in Tarragona –the part with the in-laws–, but he did it to save the second part –the end of the year, in Mallorca, with his parents. “We take it easy, patiently,” he says. It will not be a Christmas like the ones we expected but they won’t be like last year either. They will be a little bit better. We will do something & rdquor ;.

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“It will not be a Christmas like the ones we expected but it will not be like last year either. They will be a little better & rdquor ;, says Sergio López

The conclusion is that you do not have to draw conclusions, or in other words, that the new reality must be read between the lines, and once this is done, read it again and in the same way: between the lines. “Last year & rdquor ;, says Montse Grau,“ I think many of us had the impression that, well, nothing was happening, it was just a Christmas. That ‘we’ll see you next year’ impression. But now we begin to understand that it will not be so short, and that there will be seasons that we will be better and seasons that we will be bad. We cannot get too excited about the future. “Thinking about Christmas next year & rdquor ;, says Ainara González,” I sincerely hope they won’t be like this again, but also I am aware that it is not in our hands, no matter how much we vaccinate & rdquor ;. “How I approach it & rdquor ;, says Irene Pardo,” is adapting to whatever comes. I do not know if it is easier for the new generations, maybe it is, but we must not refuse to accept reality & rdquor ;. Adapting, after all, is what this species has always done.

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