In the following pages, people from all walks of life recount their experiences during the Covid-19 crisis that turned 2020 into one of the most terrible years on record. What follows are personal tales from health professionals who have seen the drama of contagion and death up close, as well as the stories of people working in different sectors that have been severely affected by the pandemic. They share their worries, their fears and criticisms, but also their hopes.
The year just gone will forever stand out in individual and collective memory above all for the huge loss of human life. Coronavirus has killed 1.7 million people worldwide, more than 16,000 of whom were in Catalonia (as of the end of December). As we mourn the dead and pray for the recently developed vaccines to work, an economic and social crisis is upon us that will set the course for the planet in the coming decades.
When news of a new coronavirus that was causing a deadly pneumonia appeared in Wuhan City, central China, in January last year, no one paid much attention. No one suspected that this new coronavirus would end up causing the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu in 1918. By February, the alarm had been raised and drastic measures were being taken in China, and foreign media began focusing on the new disease, which had spread to other Asian countries and also reached Europe.
In Catalonia, the first infection was detected on February 25. At that time, the disease was spreading very rapidly in Italy, but it was still hoped that here the cases could be contained and controlled. Unfortunately, SARS-CoV-2, as the coronavirus was dubbed, got out of control in a matter of weeks. The number of cases multiplied exponentially and there was not enough medical equipment or staff to take care of everyone. And worst of all was the uncertainty. Absolutely nothing was known about the virus and the official advice seemed to change by the day as the authorities struggled to manage what had become a global pandemic.