Lockdown: An example to be followed

Insight by Oscar Siches

Inputs and inspiration from a paper by IMCI’s CEO Ulrich Heineman

2020 is giving human beings a hard shake by changing our way of life. Our desire and sometimes cool conviction of being the masters of the Universe, shared in the past by the entire Western world, has fallen crushingly in the first four months of the year before a microscopic squat of 6 ten thousandths of a millimeter, invisible but feared everywhere, that has brought society, economies and governments to their knees.

We shot in the dark trying to control the invader, and the consequences of his growing presence are escaping our control. Today we can look back and see that the only thing that has served was to lock up, a lockdown that after two months gave us a break that we confused, too quickly, with victory.

June arrived with figures that told us about having the situation under control. Those of us in southern Europe began to believe in the official propaganda of a summer that would bring back tourists and businesses, but that did not come. On the one hand, people’s fear (their own and that of others) to travel had been underestimated. On top of that, the countries that have always been the source of tourists to Spain did not finish blessing the typical holidays in the Mediterranean, with no more powerful deterrent than planting doubt with the prospective holiday makers. Almost empty airports, hotels transformed into islands whose surroundings did not offer the leisure associated with these trips, and in August, the blow of Great Britain and Germany, and then Holland, imposing a quarantine on whoever returned from Spain.

It is impossible to correct a problem with the same method in which it was created. This was enunciated at the beginning of the last century by Albert Einstein. And I see us (all of us, not just Spain) still trapped on that path that is followed blindly and has shown that it does not lead us anywhere. We see how the indications to wear a mask, not to gather in discos, bars and beaches are ignored, and how the popularity of clandestine parties grows. Only groups that claim the right to meet and to be mask-free, who see their fundamental rights diminished, are listened to and given national news time. They forget that by doing so they prevent those who do comply from having a better chance of not getting infected or of getting a hospital bed if they do get infected, which are also fundamental rights.

The human being awoke in the last 20 years to the reality of pollution, the uncontrolled use of energy and its consequences. We have not done a very good job, but there was a great change in the mentality of the people, who today are much more aware of the importance of saving energy and generating pollution.  Nautical people are a very sensitive group in this respect, taking care of non-polluting the sea and engaging in voluntary shore and sea cleaning campaigns and events. Boat manufactures have picked up the tag and adopted low energy and high recycling building methods in their manufacture.

We will be able to control the virus, just as it was done with tetanus, smallpox, tuberculosis or measles. The vaccine that finally works will be given to children just like the triple vaccine is given since dozens of years ago, and keep the virus away. The point is: when will we get there? If we are aware of climate change, pollution and the misuse of energy, if the nautical industry has been able to listen to the nautical community and implemented important changes in their designs and production, why not try to promote seriously the application of the respect of rules, change habits and form a common front against the pandemic?  If we keep trying shots in the dark at all levels and in many fronts, the virus will keep spreading more than necessary and we will suffer its consequences for years