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The ghost of Christmas past has returned.

But we are no longer the same.

This year we received it armed with vaccines, tests and, supposedly, a greater knowledge of what its uses and customs are.

I say supposedly because, although in theory we know everything, in practice we tend to relax.

Living with the virus means, precisely, not forgetting about it but keeping it very present.

Immersed in the juiciest bridge of the year and with the festivities looming, these are the measures that we cannot ignore if we want to avoid the ghost of last Christmas from giving us a scare again.


Vaccines are, without a doubt, the key element in the prevention strategy.

Although the vaccination rate against the coronavirus in Spain is very good compared to other countries, there are population groups - especially the young segment - in which we still have to make an effort.

The third dose and childhood vaccination are the next challenges.

Given the doubts that are emerging around the famous booster and vaccines in children between 5 and 11 years old, pedagogy is now more necessary than ever.

Pedagogy by health professionals who are in the trenches and also by health authorities who must offer clear and concise information in this regard.

Test, test, test

Since July, antigen tests have been dispensed without a prescription in pharmacies. The uncomfortable tests with nasopharyngeal sampling have given way to other more comfortable options in which the sampling can be performed by the user himself in the lower part of the nose or through saliva. Last year antigen tests were a dark object of desire, they ran like wildfire on the black market, but there is no longer an excuse. Now they are available at the corner pharmacy and the price is affordable, around € 5-7 (this week we have learned that they will even be distributed for free in some autonomous communities such as Madrid). Before a company dinner, any family reunion or with friends, it is more than advisable to do a previous test (whether or not there are symptoms). It is not infallible,but it can be a good firewall.

Less is more

We all want to get together with the whole family, but unfortunately this year is not going to be the best time to throw a Sicilian party.

And, be careful, it is not only important to limit the number of people in meetings, but also the number of meetings with different people, which is something that is usually less stressed.

If today we have a company dinner, tomorrow the soccer team and the day after tomorrow the traditional lunch with the cousins, we are multiplying the options that our new enemy Ómicron enters our lives.

Masks, hand washing ...

Not because the message is repeated should have less force. There is evidence that the use of the mask reduces, depending on the environmental viral face and the exposure time, between 20 and 50% the infections and if we are vaccinated much better. Now, the mask must be well fitted (something that we have not yet fully learned) and be appropriate for each context. We insist: FFP2 type for crowded places (especially in people at risk) and surgical or hygienic type for less risky spaces. Although its use in the open air is not necessary, there is no excess in the center of some cities, especially in the crowds that occur during the days before Christmas. Hand washing, even though we know that fomite transmission is not the main route of infection,it remains a fundamental strategy in the prevention of infectious diseases in general.

Ventilation and CO2 meters

D'Artagnan always goes with the three musketeers ... and in this case D'Artagnan is the ventilation. Once we have sufficient evidence on aerosol transmission of the virus, windows should be more open and CO2 meters should be more present in our lives. No, I am not saying that we put a CO2 meter on the Christmas Eve table next to the prawns. But, since common sense about capacity is scarce, it would be advisable that, in bars, restaurants, offices, etc. There will be devices that will alert that the environment is loaded and that the time has come to open (even more) the windows or to clear the premises. Notice to boaters: the HEPA filters that now adorn the bars next to the fire extinguisher are very good, but,nor do they replace natural ventilation (it is a complementary measure), nor do they of course avoid contagion if next to the HEPA filter you are singing loudly C. Tangana, glass in hand and without a mask, together with your friend of the soul.

In short: test, mask, hand washing, distance, more ventilation, fewer contacts and ... get vaccinated whoever can.

So simple and difficult at the same time to prevent the ghost of last Christmas from being the protagonist of our story again.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Science and Health

  • Coronavirus

  • Covid 19

  • Infectious diseases

  • Respiratory diseases

  • Omicron variant

  • Spain

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