The keys of Margarita del Val and Fernando Simón to face the next pandemic after the coronavirus

Margarita del Val and Fernando Simón have led the fight against the coronavirus in Spain from the scientific spectrum.

The keys of Margarita del Val and Fernando Simón to face the next pandemic after the coronavirus

Margarita del Val and Fernando Simón have led the fight against the coronavirus in Spain from the scientific spectrum. The researcher of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, once the situation in relation to Covid-19 is stabilized, give the keys to face the next pandemic, both locally as international.

Both experts defend that the transmission mechanism of the next health crisis will come through the air, something for which it is necessary to "demonstrate the lessons learned" such as "solidarity, cooperation and global preparation", as they explained at the First International Summit on Pandemic Management held in Valencia.

For the CSIC virologist, right now "you cannot think of a next pandemic caused by something that is not transmitted by water or food, because it would be a local epidemic."

However, he warns that "another can come back to us through the air." “In the 19th century, it was learned with the cholera epidemics that drinking water has to be perfectly separated from wastewater and that by making it drinkable, deaths are avoided and life expectancy is increased,” he argued in the presentation organized by the Police Venue of Valencia.

In this way, he believes that the Covid-19 crisis has shown that the most dangerous transmission mechanism is the air, so "we must learn to clean it." To do this, he advocates the widespread use of CO2 meters that allow knowing when there is a risk of contagion, as is already being done in schools, universities and other public centers.

In this sense, del Val urges the Public Administration to guarantee clean air that "would avoid constantly opening the advantages with their consequent energy expenditure." In addition, he regrets that more and more intelligent buildings are being built to save energy, "but less and less healthy for the transmission of respiratory diseases."

In any case, the virologist insists that clean air should be an enforceable right: “That I don't have to filter my air when I have to breathe it, just as I don't filter my water when I have to drink it. If I don't share my glass of water with everyone in a restaurant, I also don't have to share my air with everyone in a closed room."

For his part, the director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, pointed out at the summit held in Valencia that the coronavirus has shown that we must be prepared immediately for the arrival of a new crisis. To do this, it is necessary to coordinate a global response and for Spain to prepare itself with a single health system, plans with a multisectoral approach and "clearly" define decision-making.

For the Government spokesman in relation to pandemic management, the need to think about a long-term strategy should be delved into because "we are not dealing with a few people but with the entire population and the population has its limits when it comes to enduring restrictions ».

"Think globally and be prepared for the next pandemic because we don't know when but it will come." However, he stressed that it has already been internalized that health crises "are not just a health issue" but that they affect all areas and therefore require a multisectoral approach, although the prevailing management must be agreed from the umbrella of health criteria.

Likewise, he considers that information and communication are also key, since opinions "are not scientific information", as well as international legislation to act with "speed and strength".

Finally, Simón stated that "yes, we have learned and that we are much better prepared", a perception on which he offered the following comparison: "One hundred years ago the Spanish flu of 1918 caused fifty million deaths in a world population of 1,500 million, while the Covid is estimated to have caused six million deaths in a population of 700,000 million.

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