COVID-19 IN EUROPE: CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES, AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

BY ALONSO J. RODRIGUEZ

Chronicling the Spread

The situation surrounding COVID-19 in Europe right now is critical. With half of the population of China, Europe is faced with twice as many cases as the Asian country was faced with at its worst.

Right now, Europe is the epicenter of this pandemic that seems not to rest on its mission to expand globally.

What have been the main causes for Europe to be so affected by the pandemic?

Although Italy, the first main risk area in Europe, is thousands of kilometers away from China, there is an explanation for why it was so heavily infected. 

In Lombardy, a region located in northern Italy, there is one of the largest textile industries in Europe, with which there are large businesses with Chinese companies, specifically from Wuhan (ground zero of this pandemic). The entry of Chinese immigrants was uncontrolled despite being aware of the existence of this virus. 

But why is it spreading so fast?

This spread is due to two fundamental factors. The first is clearly that there has been misinformation on the part of the institutions and the media, which at the beginning of its spread explained that it was a new species of flu instead of explaining it is a harmful virus that causes serious pneumonia that mainly affects older people or people with previous pathologies. It’s seriousness to healthy, younger people also wasn’t relayed. 

Given this case of the spread of misinformation, citizens of the affected areas did not take the advice of the health workers seriously, as the version was that it was a simple flu.

The second main factor behind the rapid spread is the Schengen system, in which all members of the European Union can cross country borders without any special requirements. That has led to the virus moving through European areas more quickly than it has in the rest of the world. 

Also, Social Security and medical care in countries like Spain are free. The problem with this system is that when situations like these occur, if there is no prior planning and good management of resources, there is a shortage of medical materials and an overflow of cases that make it difficult to care for patients. 

These were one of the biggest mistakes to face at this point of the pandemic, because the governments are improvising to make the best decisions for the current situation. 

The governments of the most affected countries, such as Italy and Spain right now, have decided it is appropriate to establish a lockdown until mid-April, where citizens are only allowed to go outside for essential activities such as going to get groceries, going to the pharmacy or the bank. Anyone who leaves their home for no apparent reason will face fines of high financial penalty. 

Why is it essential to stay at home during this period? 

It is essential to be disciplined with this quarantine, as this virus has a great capacity to infect, and is also quite resistant to extreme temperatures. It can stay on surfaces and in the air for hours, and the main problem is the more virus load the population has, the more severe the disease becomes. That means the more people you infect, the more likely you are to die. 

It is difficult to detect in many people if they have contracted this virus because there are people who are asymptomatic, so they will not suffer the ravages of the disease but can spread it to others. That’s why isolation is crucial.

My Personal Experience In Spain

Rodriguez

I am a student at FHSU but I take classes online and at the same time I live in Spain. Here, the situation is very delicate, it is the tenth day of confinement and it is not easy to live locked up in your house without being able to go outside. Besides, my father is a doctor, and he explains to us the situation that is being lived day by day. 

He complains about poor government management and the lack of equipment such as masks or suits to isolate them from the contagion. They are risking their lives day by day. In Spain, the spectacular work being done by health specialists is being highly valued, and that is why everyday people go out to their balconies to applaud them at 8 pm. 

There are entire cities and neighborhoods that dedicate two minutes of applause to continue giving encouragement. We Spaniards have a way of being a bit jocular, and it’s not that we take this situation for granted, but we always try to see the good side of things and act positively. There are a lot of viral videos that have appeared on social networks about how we Spaniards entertain ourselves in these long days of quarantine. 

It is very important to have a social distance even with your family inside the house, and try to do the minimum of activities that require a short distance between people. We try to spend as much time apart in our rooms as possible. It is a hard situation, where you cannot embrace those you love the most, where you cannot go out and enjoy these first days of spring, but the Spanish people are being disciplined because now it is of vital importance to reduce the number of infected people so that the medical services are not overwhelmed and the health system does not collapse. 

As an experience for all those of you who are close to living confined to your homes, it is imperative that you do not go out unnecessarily and take the health indications seriously. To help cope with long days indoors, I have designed a plan every day so that these days do not become too boring. 

I try to get up early every morning, I tidy my room because order in places with little space is vital for maintaining emotional stability. Then I take a shower and try to get dressed properly, with the clothes I would wear as if I were going out. That keeps you lively and also if you look good, you feel good. I use the rest of the morning to do homework and things that have to do with FHSU. 

I eat, and I take a little nap typical of here. When I wake up, I exercise and try to stay in shape, because that helps me feel good too. And the rest of the day I use it to read or watch shows. Before I go to bed, I use an application that I recommend to everyone with a smartphone, called Houseparty and it can make video calls for up to 10 people. This application includes games to keep interacting with your friends so you don’t miss them so much.

So, please, to all the FHSU students around the world, take care of yourselves, obey all the experts’ instructions, and try to be cautious and disciplined to beat this disease as soon as possible. 

Let’s do it together to get back to our normal life, and be a little happier again.


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