Political economy

We were saying a month ago that the strategy in the face of the current phase of the pandemic was difficult to understand.

Political economy

We were saying a month ago that the strategy in the face of the current phase of the pandemic was difficult to understand. And what happened seems to confirm it: the incidence continues to rise (particularly for those aged 60 and over) and mortality/day and hospital admissions (in Catalonia, more than 1,000) have returned to records from last March. And with unflattering expectations for the summer.

It is understandable that those responsible ask for caution: what is least desired today is to add restrictions to the activity. Because the oven is not for buns: the ECB sharpens the monetary restriction; the war in Ukraine extends its recessive and inflationary consequences, to which must be added those of the new covid shock on China; and the falls in the stock markets, the expectations of a slowdown in the US and the growing global risks point to a possible recession.

But, alas! Governments propose and realities impose themselves. And no matter how well-intentioned the flu policy was, it is beginning to leak: what was decided may end up negatively affecting the country's tourism brand, just the opposite of what was intended. It will be argued that there is no alternative between the previous restrictions and the practical freedom of today. But it is not true. Given that the incidence and hospitalizations affect those over 60 years of age more, an intermediate solution should be to increase the protection of this group which, according to what France and Germany are doing, would imply the fourth vaccine for them. And that is where one is amazed at the slowness of our authorities, although those of Murcia, Andalusia, Galicia and Asturias already demand it.

It is claimed that there is no evidence of its effectiveness. Certainly, I do not know, and doctors have the Church to pronounce. But I do remember that last year's insistence on the third dose was, apparently, due to loss of protection from the second; and I also note that the discussion here is that the decision on the fourth vaccine will be made, but it will be in the fall. Knowing the situation of public finances, and the effect of energy increases on health, one suspects that perhaps the problem lies in the expense that would be caused by vaccinating the contingent of people over 60 years of age. A collective of 12.5 million in Spain and nearly two million in Catalonia.

But that is where the political economy of the epidemic errs: budgets may save a few euros, but, if the pandemic continues to rise, tourist activity will suffer much more. It happened in the summers of 2020 and 2021, and everything indicates that this 2022 may look like it. Cheap, as always, ends up being very expensive. Because here, with about 40% of employment in personal services, any delay that suggests loss of control of the epidemic ends up paying heavily. We have seen it before.