Covid-19: the epidemic abstract

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Contrary to what has been shown to the industry Hollywood in countless movies of the Revelationthe great epidemic of the TWENTY-first century doesn’t pass in front of our eyes. No collapsed buildings or hordes of outlaws. Except for the face mask that now appear in public in different varieties and colors, the epidemic is totally abstract.

To give context so that there are numbers, but many times –and rightly so– doesn’t mean anything to the average citizen. For example: the assistant secretary for Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell has said that up to 70% of the mexican population could become infected by coronaviruses during the period of the pandemic. If we speak of a population of 125 million, this implies that 87.5 million could become infected. But if for a large part of them, say the estimates, the coronavirus will be asymptomatic, it is very difficult –if not impossible– to put in dimension that will happen.

Or the fact that we have a little over 5,000 fans for extreme cases, or approximately 56,000 beds in all public hospitals in the country. Those numbers alone do not say anything. Because it is not all these beds are empty, or the fans are unemployed; in the day-to-day use for multiple other national emergencies of health: complications associated to diabetes or to cardiovascular disease, to name a few.

On the other hand, there are the data and the graphs that are presented daily in the press conference the evening of the seven. The world has become accustomed to seeing the blissful curve that should be evened out. The most basic thing is understandable: while you climb, there are problems. But, when is it considered that a country controlled by the pandemic? Why the cases are measured in absolutes, and not according to the population of a country? Why are there curves that begin to measure trends from the 50 cases or from 100 in place from the first?

To this we must add that on Sunday, the government presented a graph other than the ones used. After that in social networks the political scientist Sebastian Garrido he called attention to the matter, the government, but also in networks, which was measuring cases in a way different from the commonly accepted and that is why the line seemed flat. If one was not aware of that exchange on Twitter, it could have been left with the impression that the famous curve was under control. After the discussion, the graph has not recurred.

In any case, the figures themselves are difficult to follow: the cuts of information of the authority given to the pm and was present six hours after; made with the processed data, which are not necessarily the data of the day. That is to say, there may be patients who are infected but not yet known because their tests have still not been accounted for.

We are drowning in a sea of numbers and data that can be interpreted in many ways.

Meanwhile reality continues. The trade is maintained. The informal also, and how not, if it is the backbone of the country. There are things that you can’t stop.

But while the numbers sound far away, something to say. That there is a pandemic there. That the worst is yet to come, is. You may not understand it yet, and will not be until we see the corona close to us is clear.

As said Stuart Thompson, an editor of the New York Times, a few weeks ago: the circle is closed. First you listen to the sick and dying in other countries. Then in yours. Then in your region, in your state, in your city. Then is the friend of a friend. And then, at the end it is the friend himself.

That is when the pandemic ceases to be abstract.

Facebook: /illadesesteban
Twitter: @esteban_is





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