First, an update on Jeff. He’s back to his old self again after running a fever with chills for nearly 48 hours. It gives me a window into what I’m in for this Wednesday. And also proves that I just have to take paracetamol, drink water when I’m awake, and sleep as much as possible.
On to more exciting news! We are ditching the masks outdoors in Spain starting next Saturday June 26. Our PM, Pedro Sanchez announced it Friday. This follows much of the rest of the EU, sans Portugal, who have accelerated their vaccine rollouts and are ready to move to near normal due to a positive epidemiological position. We watch with envy on the news as France is already maskless outdoors. The French people look so chic with their faces fully visible walking through the city. We are fast on their heels 👠 .
In Galicia, over 70% of those of us over 50 yrs old have had the full course. The health services have been going full steam ahead for days with 3.5 million doses a week. More than 50% of Galicians have received one dose and they are starting to call the next group of 30-39 on Monday. I’m excited I will have my second dose by the time the outdoor mask mandate is lifted after 15 months. But I will need to wait until July 7th before I’m in possession of a full tank of antibodies. Jeff will be 10 days in by the time masks are no longer required on our nightly walks.
For the summer holidays in August (when all of Spain is on vacation) Galicia will allow people outside their home health area to get the jab near their holiday homes. And citizens will be allowed to make appointments to get it done there. This system will also be used for everyone under age 30 going forward. Sergas will still send a summons, but the individual can search available slots on the website and get an appointment on their own.
All school children, who have not already received the vaccine, will get the first dose starting September 1st. With the aim in time for the return to school a few weeks later.
I would not have believed it was possible that Spain would reach herd immunity by Halloween, as even a couple of months ago this seemed impossible. But it is happening. Citizens here are fulfilling their responsibility to each other and turning up, for the most part, when summoned. And it’s great to see. When we go out to eat or meet people in town it’s all anyone talks about.
‘Have they sent you the text.’
‘Have you gotten the vaccine?’
‘Which one did you get?’
‘Did you have a reaction?’
‘When do you get the second one?’
Humans have a short attention span, though. Soon, we will forget all about this. ‘Remember when we had to wear a mask?’ will be what adults who were school children during this time will say some day. ‘Or when we were all locked inside that year? Crazy.’ Sort of like nuclear fallout drills during school in the US in the 60’s and 70’s. ‘Duck and cover’ as we hid under our desks. Fear sears these things from our childhood into our collective consciousness.
Today we headed into Lugo to do some shopping. We discovered a new area and enjoyed a day picking up the essentials. Even encountering a Yelmo Cinema, so movies in original voice are in our post-pandemic future. The mall was full and we treated ourselves to some authentic Mexican food bowls. It tasted like just like Mexican food in the US.
Shopping gave me the itch now that masks are phasing out. I believe a new lipstick is in order. I’m sure the cosmetics industry has suffered this past year. Who needed to wear make up to go out? Due to all the excitement around imminently not masking outside, I put on some lipstick to drive into town today. The lip impression is on the inside of the mask I put on when we got there. The first time in a year. But soon, I will wear it with abandon. Maybe I’ll spring for a new lip pallet. Something bright that reintroduces my smile to the world! Just to say ‘Hello friend. It’s me! I’ve been here all along.’ What if we all went out and bought new lip color? A way to celebrate the start of better communication. Smiles beget smiles. El Corte Ingles cosmetic section will be my next stop.
After all these months, it feels like the pandemic is rapidly coming to a close in Spain. Long Covid not withstanding. It’s time to start turning our sights to helping the rest of the world. Since the G7 meeting didn’t result in a vaccine funding and distribution strategy for poorer nations, I wish there was a fund or charity we could contribute to that would help pay it forward. Jeff and I would donate to helping those in Africa or South/Central America or India get the doses needed to truly end the pandemic across the globe.
This will not be the last global health crisis of our time. We have an obligation to each other as human beings. I hope we don’t lose that lesson as the day to day of the pandemic fades. It feels like Covid was just a warning shot across the bow. Not such a happy thought.
But today I am going to look on the bright side. This time next week I should be past the worst of the second dose. Maybe sitting in a cafe, maskless, leaving lipstick imprints on a small glass of vino rosado. Laughing like a madwoman. Acting like it’s totally normal. Right now, this little piglet can smile a lipstick 💄 smile, sitting here just thinking about it.