How is the situation in your city/ country? Is there a 2nd wave yet?
The current situation is complex. The second wave is ending, but with a high plateau of cases that prevents a return to normality. Vaccination is slow, few people have more than two doses and the delta variant arrived a few weeks ago. We fear that if vaccination is not accelerated, we will head for a third wave in the coming months.
How did the atmosphere in your country change within the last months?
At first fear and invertedness dominated. At that stage there was a very tough quarantine to contain the virus, which had great support from society. Today things have changed, in part due to more information on how the Covid affects us, vaccines, and also due to a certain weariness or accustoming to the situation. I see a divided society, between those who resume an almost normal life, others who retain an exaggerated fear, and some who totally disbelieve the virus.
How are you and your family?
We are all well, no one got sick during the pandemic and today we all have at least the first dose of the vaccine, which gives us more peace of mind. But there were difficult moments. One of my uncles died and I was only able to visit his grave six months later. I also spent almost a year without being able to see my parents and brothers.
What was the biggest challenge for you within the last months?
I think that spending so many months away from my family, in the midst of uncertainty, and with a job that had intensified a lot was my greatest challenge.
When did you realize how serious the situation is?
I think I realized it in early March. At that moment the news began to arrive from Italy, where the deaths were counted by the hundreds, since the virus had arrived just a few months before. A strong flu does not cause this. I read news of the world frequently, I watch documentaries, and it was the first time I saw something like that. It looked like something out of a disaster movie. A few days later in my country they declared a strict forty that paralyzed everything, and the cases began to skyrocket.
How did your government react to the crisis? Which measures/restrictions were taken first?
First they restricted flights from countries with circulation of the virus and the quarantine of travelers was mandatory. Then they directly closed the borders and on March 20, 2020 the government declared a strict quarantine. Nobody could leave the house, all the shops closed, except those of food or pharmacies. Transportation and industry also ceased, except for those few considered essential such as medical services, security, energy, public works.
Are you satisfied with the measures of your government? What was good/bad?
I agree with some measures, but I think they were taken at the wrong time or without coordination. They delayed implementing controls at the airport, and with it the virus reached the country. Then the quarantine initially worked, to identify and isolate the virus outbreaks. But then instead of focusing on those areas, they continued to expand it for many months, without delving into an alternative such as testing. As a result many companies went bankrupt and people lost their jobs because businesses and factories could not open. Also, many people got fed up with being locked up and started to go out, ignoring the care, and the cases grew to tens of thousands per day.
What would you like to say to your government?
That they have coherence.
Which sentence of a virologist/politician did you memorize the most?
Do you know anybody who was infected with COVID-19 or even died?
Yes, many friends and co-workers got sick. Some seriously, fortunately all recovered.
Have you already done a Coronavirus test or have you been in quarantine?
Twice I have had to be quarantined and undergo a PCR test. Both occasions due to a close contact in my work.
Are you afraid of getting infected with the Coronavirus?
I’m not afraid. I am young and without risk factors, so if I am ill it is unlikely that I will have complications. And I am also careful. Some time ago, I was more concerned about getting sick and infecting my parents and my parents-in-law who are older, but today they are vaccinated and this brings some peace of mind.
How long is/was your lockdown and what was allowed/what wasn´t?
The strict quarantine in Argentina lasted about 7 months, then it became more flexible but it is far from being normal life. I was finishing the construction of a route and planning to travel and spend time with my family and friends when everything started and I was isolated in Buenos Aires.
Did you spend the lockdown time with somebody and what did you do during this time?
Unable to travel home to my family, I moved in with my girlfriend and spent most of my quarantine with her. My work was essential, so I had to do it in person. The free time that I had left I began to learn about finances, languages and worked on a travel profile and photos on instagram.
What did you miss the most during the lockdown? What helped you?
What I missed the most was traveling, and going out with my friends. But also the idea of social distancing. In my culture we are very warm when greeting and talking. Many of those little things that did us good from day to day had disappeared.
How did your work situation change within the last months (shorter hours, working from home, etc.)
My work never stopped. When working in a construction company, as soon as the pandemic began, I was relocated to direct the expansion of a hospital. My work intensified because I had to fill the face-to-face functions of those who were considered at risk, monitor the implementation of the new protocols, and the trip to work was stressful. There were strict traffic controls, which generated traffic jams of several hours.
How did your social life (relationship/friendships/dating) change due to the Corona crisis?
I feel like my social life has been greatly reduced. My work and bottling consumed all my energy. When I got home I just wanted to rest, and sight never seemed capable of replacing human contact.
What impact has the Corona crisis on your financial situation?
Fortunately, my work continued, even intensified, which is why my source of income was maintained. And for the first time I had time to spend learning about finance and investing. But the economic situation in Argentina is fragile, high inflation, continuous devaluation and the limitations imposed by the government on saving in Dollars are a problem.
Social distancing: How does your daily life look like at the moment?
I feel like it’s stagnant. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, there are still restrictions in Argentina and other countries that prevent me from moving forward.
Who are to your opinion the heroes of this crisis?
Medical Staff and scientifics who are development vaccines.
What did the crisis show you?
How little prepared we are for a pandemic. I how easy it is that people are influenced by pseudoscience.
What will you appreciate more after the crisis?
It taught me to value more time with the people I love.
Which images will you never forget?
I will never forget the images of a totally empty city of millions of inhabitants. Deserted streets, no cars, no people.
Which stories/incidents/experiences touched/shattered you the most?
One of my uncles passed away in the middle of his quarantine and cannot be with my family at that time. Months later I was able to visit his grave.
What are you afraid of right now?
I am afraid that a new vaccine resistant strain will prolong vaccination for another year. And that the economic crisis in my country gets worse.
What gives you hope?
The advancement of vaccination and the perseverance of humanity.
Are you planning to travel within the next months?
Soon I am planning a sightseeing trip through the southern mountains. And in a few months, moving to Ireland for work. All this, if the pandemic allows it.
Would you get yourself vaccinated against COVID-19?
We must get vaccinated, I have happily applied two doses of the vaccine.
What can we all learn from this crisis?
We have not yet mastered nature. We must listen more to scientists. And work together.
If you could give 2020 a headline, what would it be?
2020: the year the world stopped.