The world has been plagued by the new coronavirus pandemic, or SARS-CoV-13, for more than 2 months. During this time, a great deal of information has been disseminated about the behavior of the virus, its effects, its mode of transmission, treatments for infected patients, and research to develop vaccines. Last year messages, WhatsApp chains and journalistic notes about prevention measures were very popular: how many meters to keep away, how to use a mask, the importance of washing hands and how to disinfect surfaces.
However, perhaps due to the passage and weight of time, or probably since the beginning of the vaccine production and distribution, prevention measures stopped leading the news traffic to give the place of honor to immunizing drugs.
That is why we decided to conduct a digital survey among our readers to record the public's perception of what is the most important measure to stop the coronavirus. We spread the question through our website and our social media accounts for four days, between Monday, April 12, and Thursday, April 15. Participants selected from these options, which were presented randomly: maintain physical distancing, wear a mask and wash hands, respect radical quarantine, disinfect spaces, get vaccinated, a combination of all.
What people say?
We got 2.648 responses and the finding was as follows:
More than two thirds, 67,3%, responded that to stop the virus, it is necessary to combine the different prevention measures. With quite a distance from this majority, there are the second and third groups, very close to each other, which correspond to those who think that the most important thing is to be vaccinated (12%) and the use of a mask along with frequent hand washing (10,4 %).
Those who answered that the fundamental thing is the confinement measures represent 7,6% of the total; and very few people assigned a decisive relevance to social distancing (1,8%) and disinfection of spaces (0,9%). Let's look at the data in absolute terms:
"Do it all!"
The vast majority do not consider that a single measure is sufficient to stop the spread of the virus. And they are right. This is the same opinion held by the authorities of the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the beginning of March, WHO Director of Health Emergencies Mike Ryan warned that, even when vaccination has started in many countries, preventive measures were still necessary.
"It is not the time to relax with the measures, if we do we run the risk of having a new wave of cases," he said at the time.
The process has been very long and traumatic. Perhaps that is why people, exhausted from so much "pandemic effort", tend to downplay prevention measures waiting for the vaccine to arrive and solve the problem. You can see on the street how some people walk without a mask or wear it around their neck, we also see how they group together to talk quietly as if the pandemic did not exist. Others, definitely, believe that "everything is a lie" and make tremendous "coronaparties".
All this has brought serious consequences, second and third waves have erupted all over the world.
If we consult the website of the World Health Organization, the body with the highest authority on this issue, we will be able to realize that they repeat, over and over again, a set of prevention recommendations, and not a single measure. In fact, it is very common to find in texts and informative materials a phrase that, after seeing it so much, seems like a kind of slogan: "Do it all!". We recommend that you visit that pageand inform yourself well about everything related to the pandemic.
Be careful with this
Going back to our survey, when we exclude the answer “A combination of all”, which gathered a definite majority and provides the main conclusion of the survey, we can observe interesting things.
For example, the largest minorities correspond to those who believe that the vaccine is the most important thing and those who opted for the use of masks and hand washing. The wide dissemination of information about vaccines, with the ingredient of “hope” that is frequently assigned to them, as well as the striking that it is that we all wear part of the face covered, make these elements have a relevant impact on people's perception .
But what should be more striking is that very few people decided that the most important measure might be "Maintain physical distancing". Only 1,8%, that is, only 48 responses out of 2.648, corresponded with this option.
It is surprising that the only alternative whose weight and responsibility falls entirely on you and me, that is, on individuals, is so little considered in terms of importance. Vaccination, masks and cleaning products depend on external factors: budgets, government actions and private economic powers, etc. Confinements are collective measures, carried out by force of law. But the simple actions of keeping more than one meter of distance with other people, avoiding talking too closely and not staying together for a long time, are things that do not require money, or that we are forced to. It depends on our conscience and our will.
As we have seen here, all the measures are important, and more than each one of them, the whole. If we check the page of WHO recommendations, always mention first, among the other measures, physical distancing. And if we consult the section dedicated to the transmission of COVID-19, the official information literally says:
“COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which spreads between people mainly when an infected person is in close contact with another person (…) they can contract COVID-19 when the virus enters through the mouth, nose or eyes, something that can happen more likely if people are in direct or close contact (less than 1 meter away) with an infected person ”.
To say that the best way to stop the coronavirus consists of the conjugation of a series of measures, implies assigning equal importance to each of them. That's why it's important get well informed and contribute to the spread, if possible in a "viral" way, of all the actions necessary for us to be able to overcome this collective challenge.