Spanish regional governments have said COVID-19 will become ‘endemic’ in the population, during the latest escalation of the Socialist Party (PSOE) -Podemos government’s criminal campaign to abandon public health measures and force residents of the ‘Spain to’ live with the virus. “
From an epidemiological point of view, the term “endemic” describes the constant presence and prevalence of a disease in the population of a certain area. It refers to a condition in which a disease reaches such a level that most of the population has developed immunity. Viruses such as the common cold are considered endemic.
By declaring COVID-19 ‘endemic’, Spain’s ruling class signals its intention to allow the infection to spread unhindered and allow for seasonal flare-ups that could push hospitals to their breaking point. Far from being a response to the inevitable transmission of an invincible, albeit relatively benign virus, it is a deliberate decision to let a deadly disease ravage the population, regardless of the cost to health and life. .
Signaling the epidemiological situation in the northern region of Navarre, the Navarre Institute for Public Health and Labor (ISPLN) said the pandemic was practically over, but the virus would continue to proliferate. “Unless new and unexpected factors emerge,” the report says, “we could be at the end of the pandemic situation in Navarre. That doesn’t mean COVID-19 will stop circulating for good, but it will likely be included in the list of infections that spread endemically or during seasonal outbreaks. “
“It cannot be ruled out that COVID-19 may cause waves in the fall and winter,” the ISPLN document continues, “but they will likely have an increasingly smaller health impact thanks to the high vaccination coverage and the application other preventive measures by the population. In people who have been properly vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 is no greater than that of other common diseases such as the flu. “
The claim that COVID-19 will naturally become less deadly and “like the flu” is a lie without scientific merit. Other mutations made possible by the inability to contain and end the pandemic can produce even more deadly strains, as the emergence of the much more transmissible and deadly Delta variant of the virus has shown.
On Friday, the regional prime minister of the Basque Country, Iñigo Urkullu, also said the virus was becoming “endemic” in the region. Urkullu told the LABI (Basque Civil Protection Plan) Advisory Commission that “the Basque Country is moving from a pandemic situation to an endemic situation”.
“We can take a new step,” he said, to allow the region “to move forward with the decree instituting the end of the health emergency” if the trajectory of the virus remains “positive” .
Speaking about the viral situation in the Basque Country, Urkullu said: “It is a downward, stable and sustainable trajectory. We are in a different situation [than earlier in the pandemic] and therefore must have different answers.
On Tuesday, the Basque government then ended the “health emergency” that was in place in the region, lifting virtually all health-related restrictions other than the requirement to wear masks in overcrowded public spaces. It is the sixth region in Spain to remove the vast majority of measures, after Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Navarre and Madrid.
The announcements of the Navarrese and Basque governments illustrate the policy of “collective immunity” pursued by the ruling class in Spain and around the world. It comes just weeks after Fernando Simón, director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES), and one of the PSOE-Podemos government’s main advisers on the pandemic, called for the “normalization” of the disease. sickness .
Speaking at a meeting of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, Simón falsely presented COVID-19 as a fairly harmless disease and downplayed the risks associated with it, comparing Spain’s response to the pandemic to “Shoot a fly with a bazooka”.
“It is very likely that Spain will no longer have major epidemiological waves,” said Simón. “There could be a sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth wave, but they won’t be like the others. “
The current situation in Spain “has nothing to do with what we saw before,” added Simón. “There could be another ripple [of the pandemic] in certain specific groups, but the situation in Spain, at the moment, is very favorable, allowing, little by little, to normalize the situation.
These calls to “normalize” COVID-19 or allow it to become “endemic” come as several hundred people continue to die from the virus each week in Spain, and tens of thousands more are infected. Several thousand of these people will suffer from persistent symptoms of the coronavirus for several weeks or even months after infection, with potential serious long-term health consequences, including multiorgan damage, cognitive impairment, severe fatigue and pain. muscle.
These policies are justified by arguments that large-scale vaccination campaigns have fundamentally changed the pandemic situation – making the disease much less dangerous – and that it is impossible to eradicate the virus completely.
Both of these claims are lies. While vaccination is a valuable tool in the fight against the pandemic, it alone is not enough to prevent serious disease and must be combined with scientifically guided public health measures to suppress transmission.
Moreover, the example of countries like China, a society of more than 1.4 billion people, shows that an elimination strategy can be pursued successfully. Despite being the birthplace of the virus, China was able to quickly bring the outbreak under control through a series of public health measures, including widespread testing, contact tracing, the safe isolation of infected patients and strict travel restrictions.
These measures have kept the number of deaths from the pandemic in China below 5,000 – a tiny fraction of the total number of deaths in Spain and most other “advanced” capitalist countries. After clearing the virus within its own borders, China has also battled repeated outbreaks of the Delta variant imported via international travel.
Other countries like New Zealand, which initially pursued a “Zero Covid” policy and had almost entirely suppressed viral transmission, have recently abandoned this strategy, turning to the “collective immunity” policy pursued by the great majority of capitalist governments around the world. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that her government would “switch to a new way of doing things”, arguing that the Delta variant is a “game changer”.
There is nothing inevitable about continuing the deadly waves of the pandemic in New Zealand, Spain or any other country. The successes of China and a few other capitalist states show that the pandemic can be fought. The potential exists to mobilize social resources to eradicate COVID-19. If measures were implemented in a globally coordinated manner across the globe, the pandemic could quickly end.
Spain’s PSOE-Podemos government has shown itself to be totally hostile to a scientifically directed policy to end the pandemic and save lives. Like the ruling class across Europe, it has placed corporate profits and the wealth of a super-rich elite above all else, viewing more than 100,000 deaths as simply the cost of doing business.
The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) has launched a global campaign for the eradication of the virus, based on policies put forward by epidemiologists and other scientists. This requires above all that the working class break the grip of the unions and social democratic and “left populist” parties like the PSOE and Podemos, which have opposed at every turn to a scientific struggle against the pandemic.
Workers must take matters into their own hands, creating independent safety committees in workplaces and schools to combat the spread of the disease, and developing sections of the ICFI in Spain, Europe and the United States. foreigner.