Deprived of accurate and reliable information, the pandemic continues to advance.

Alerts are of no use when our vital impulse is to return to normality, reunite with friends and family or enjoy the cultural activities we had put aside. That is precisely what has happened to me. Despite having played it safe throughout the pandemic, it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I began to experience the symptoms and became conscious of my neglect. Finally, I am living its effects. However, despite warnings about the high incidence of infection, I recognise how the lack of certainty about its scope and the scarcity of constant and up-to-date information have made us progressively relax precautionary measures, as a way of forgetting about this viral threat.

What do we know for sure about the tiny virus? When we turn to specialised sites and, incidentally, also to those not so attached to science, we are confronted with contradictions, hypotheses, contrasts between those who propose treatments and those who claim that they are useless. At the end of the day, we are as disoriented as at the beginning, while our organism prepares for battle.

This is the personal picture, although it is up to the individual how he or she deals with it, which brings us face to face with the reality of our ignorance on the subject. But there is another side of the coin, and that is the picture in our countries, whose low level of development condemns the population to struggle to cope, without the consolation of an adequate health infrastructure to cover emergencies. In some of them – the most corrupt and therefore lacking a serious and reliable platform, but also deprived of adequate public policies – the sectors that survive below the poverty line are not only outside state budgets, but also unable, for structural reasons, to obtain even minimal relief from their health problems.

Examples abound: rulers who have lined their pockets with pandemic budgets; health systems unable to meet the challenge of vaccination and treatment programmes; and, worst of all, the ignorance to which they have condemned citizens by not even having up-to-date information. In order to plan an adequate contingency plan, to confront the pandemic and not deny its existence, an institutional effort capable of overcoming the voracity of our rulers and their circles of allies is indispensable. The irresponsibility of those who have the power in their hands to manage the mechanisms to control the pandemic is criminal. Another of the great obstacles to knowing the true extent of this situation is the poverty of statistical gauges, by means of which to have an idea of how to deal with the devastating effects of this emergency in terms of job losses, the collapse of the family economy, domestic violence – especially against children and adolescents – and the particularly harsh direct impact on the least favoured sectors.

It is difficult to have an idea of how this new wave of contagion will affect us, but the message remains: take care, use prevention resources and do not rely too lightly on the safety of contact with other people. I’ve had my share of them.

When it comes to health, personal responsibility is the best protection.