News & Politics

Spanish Prime Minister Wants to Treat COVID like the Flu: 'We're Going to Have to Learn to Live With It'

People on a rooftop wave Spanish flags during a march in downtown Barcelona, Spain, to protest the Catalan government's push for secession from the rest of Spain, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

It has taken them two years, but Spain is finally moving to treat the coronavirus like any other flu-like virus. The country’s prime minister has said that he and his people will simply have to learn with COVID-19, and that he’ll call on the European Union to follow in Spain’s footsteps. Finally, some common sense!

On Friday, the Spanish Health Ministry reported 242,440 new infections. However, this isn’t very problematic because most “patients” aren’t actually showing any symptoms. That’s not me saying that, that’s Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

As a result, he concludes that “we are going to have to learn to live with [the coronavirus] as we do with many other viruses.”

Related: What Is the Death Rate of Omicron? It’s WAY Less Than You Think

Influenza Surveillance

And yes, he actually does mean business. His government has been busily working (for several months already) on adapting the so-called influenza sentinel surveillance-system for —  yes — the novel coronavirus that China let loose on the world accidentally allowed to spread beyond the secret bioweapons lab in Wuhan.

The idea behind this system is that the coronavirus will be monitored just like any other respiratory illness. (Gasp! I know, right?) Compare this to the current, panic-inducing system that’s focused on diagnosing every single “infection,” and that forces people to get tested, even when they have few or no symptoms whatsoever.

Spain is simply going to create a group of experts who will “monitor the situation,” with the goal of creating “a statistically significant sample with information gathered from all over the country.” You know, just like they do with surveys.

Too Many (Asymptomatic) Cases

“Given how tremendously transmissible COVID is right now, it is an enormous challenge to strictly meet universal surveillance protocols; it’s becoming impossible,” Amparo Larrauri, head of the influenza and other respiratory diseases surveillance group at CNE, is quoted as saying in Spanish media.

“Faced with this new reality, we are working on a transition from universal surveillance to sentinel surveillance for mild respiratory infections in primary centers and severe ones in hospitals.”

In normal English, this means that there are too many cases to count them one by one, and that the far majority of these cases are very mild, so there’s no use in obsessing over them anymore.

Oh my. I wonder how things would’ve fared if we had done this from the get-go. Do you think there might have been less panic, less economic damage, fewer depressions caused by lockdowns, and so on?

Right.

In any case, although Spain made a tremendous error last year when it was one of the first European countries to announce a total lockdown, the country’s leaders finally seem to have recovered their senses. Good for them. Now the rest of Europe needs to follow suit, ASAP. Because if they don’t, and if they continue the failed China-esque policy of locking up healthy people, they’ll end up permanently destroying their people’s mental health and attitude, and their union’s economy.