Coronavirus: the tests, the only way out

How are we going to get out of this economic and health situation, produced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency? The scenario in which after a time of economic slowdown, one or two months, everything will gradually return to normal It may be too innocent a thought. Other, more unfavorable situations may arise which should be taken into account.

to get started there is a possibility of a rebound of new cases when the confinement ends if no other additional measures are taken to determine who can leave their home and who should remain because they are infected or in close contact with an affected person. The transit of people between countries will have to be taken into account. Imagine that individuals from other places, affected by the coronavirus, enter Spain after finishing the confinement. They could spawn a new outbreak and start over.

Economic impact

How long can this situation last? You cannot know. Can our economy and level of employment withstand a depression that lasts a year or a year and a half? Probably not. Paul Romer, Nobel Prize in economics, former Vice President of the World Bank and one of the most influential people in this field, internationally, thinks so. His ideas on how to deal with this crisis have been published in an interview with the 'New York Times'.

The solution goes through mass manufacture of evidence for the detection of the coronavirus and of personal protective equipment and logically to develop strategies at the governmental level to promote this production. In this way you can reduce social distancing with greater precision and avoid, in part, the brake on the economy that conditions.

Massive production

From a practical point of view, the logical thing is to increase the production of the companies, in such a way that protective equipment or devices are available for everyone who needs it. Thus, the person who works or transits in a small store or office can reduce their risk of contagion. Not to mention that these teams cannot be absent from those workers, such as restrooms, security forces, nursing homes, etc., in close contact with the sick. We are the country with the highest rate of infected toilets in the world.

The next thing would be to promote the massive manufacture of coronavirus detection tests. These are able to detect the virus days before the first symptoms appear. In this way, infected people could be isolated early and prevented from spreading. The test should be done first at risk workers and then progressively spread to the entire population.

The logical thing would be that, for example, the personnel who work in the emergency room, the health personnel or nursing homes are tested daily. The result is in a few minutes. Thousands of infections would be avoided. At the moment, tests are not carried out, generally, on doctors and nurses and we are working without knowing whether or not we are carriers of the virus.

The vaccine will come from outside

Governments are mobilizing billions for subsidies, ERTES or subsidies, certainly necessary, but that are not going to get us out of this crisis. There are campaigns to collect funds and public money to obtain a vaccine 'made in Spain', when in the world there are already more than 50 highly advanced clinical trials, carried out by the largest pharmaceutical companies, with more experience and means in the world such as Roche, Merck and Bayer.

While we wait for a definitive solution like the vaccine, a new drug or the immunization of the entire population, it is cheaper and the best way not to waste money and effort, invest in diagnostic tests and massive protection material for the entire population. This may allow for an earlier and less traumatic revival of the economy. If we are not in danger that at the end of the pandemic we are alive but the economy is not.

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