a year of the pandemic that silenced Spain, opened balconies and changed us forever

Publication: Sunday March 14, 2021 2:29 PM

With 5,753 infections and 136 deaths in our country. Sánchez said these words that changed the lives of Spaniards: “I seem to report on the extraordinary Council of Ministers in which we approved the state of alert already announced.”

A mechanism almost unknown at the time which presented us with an atypical situation which required “extraordinary decisions”, as extraordinary, rare and singular, was to see emblematic streets of our country totally empty.

Silence was the only thing that crossed the deserted streets of our country. For the first in history, and as difficult as it may seem, the more than 44 million Spaniards did the same: stay at home. They forced us to lock ourselves in, but not to arrest us.

One social media post was enough for each afternoon, at 8:00 p.m. emotional applause was dedicated to health workers fighting – and continuing to fight – the pandemic on the front lines.

Our balconies have literally become our window to the world. Zumba classes, festivals, aperitifs, concerts, play bingo and even open a nightclub. We have become culinary experts and the older ones learned it through video calls.

Telematic meetings in which several children have slipped without notice. Telecommuting with them from home was an impossible task for many parents. The confinement forced us to readjust, to look around us and to become more united.

Life suddenly changed us, but we resisted. We have learned to appreciate the little details, just like that first walk on May 2nd. At that time, our country was recording 1,175 cases and 281 deaths per day. We came back to the streets and to sport with the distance and the time slots.

At the beginning alone or with a partner and always separated from the most vulnerable, who each came back, like the song, in their own way. Little by little, step by step, we have reduced the scale of our communities. For after more than 99 days of resistance, the sixth and final extension of the alarm state to date is over.

The day we said goodbye to the state of alarm and hello to summer, but with measures to prevent infections. The plots have become common among bathers. A few days later, Spain also lifted the quarantine on foreign tourists. WHO places our country as an example of success in controlling the virus.

To continue to be an example, a month of July begins with Pamplona without Sanfermines for the first time since 1938. The new standard also takes on festivals, festivities and other traditions. A summer without festivities, but a summer, after all.

We jump in September with his return to school … or his “no start”. On the 5th, the return to school was recorded in only five communities. October breaks out with an increase in cases in our country. Spain exceeds one million infections and then the second state of alarm is announced, which will last six months.

A decree that will also allow communities to take more restrictive measures such as a curfew. The decentralization of the measures begins and with them the demonstrations in several Spanish cities. An autumn marked by the closure: that of shops and restaurants, the perimeter of the municipalities, the queues of hunger and the ERTE.

In the depths of the pandemic, the first ray of light arrives: it is in November that Pfizer and BioNTech announce that their vaccine against the coronavirus is at least 95% effective. Y tras él, un mes de diciembre de polémicas: la apertura del Zendal en Madrid con solo 16 de los casi 700 profesionales necesarios, el anuncio de la existencia de las hasta entonces desconocidas variants y la más polémica: la necesidad de salvar o no, Christmas.

And he was saved. Most communities relax measures on public holidays. Relaxation will pay dearly later, leading to the peak of the third wave. But first, a mandatory stop on this date: December 27. Araceli, a 96-year-old Guadalajara resident, becomes the first person vaccinated in all of Spain. The long-awaited vaccination in the residences begins.

At the turn of the year, the third wave explodes. And already in February, elections with the EPI in Catalonia. Immunization continues to advance, albeit slowly, in our country and the data are declining. The month of February begins with the de-escalation of the third wave: the blind again in the hotel industry, mobility resumes for a large part of the citizens … with Easter and the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a backdrop.

365 days later, we continue to fight the pandemic, reporting on the coronavirus, trying to understand and convey what the virus that has changed us all has meant, assumed and will mean to all of us.

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