How the Portuguese overcame a lousy start fighting the Pandemic
In the early day of the Pandemic, the Portuguese authorities made a conscious choice of lying to people. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) was scarce, namely N95 masks. The need to ensure that medical staff got whatever was available led them through the slippery slope of making up a story that would convince people not to adequately protect themselves.
Government officials started building an outlandish narrative that masks were dangerous. People would not know how to properly place them over their mouth and nose, and we all would be better off not using them.
Soon, it became apparent to everyone (and their pets) this was an idiotic approach. The narrative then switched to something along the lines of “please leave the available stock of N95 and the blue cotton surgical masks to medical professionals”. Instead, use homemade masks; you can make one at home using whatever materials you got on hand.
Finally, when stocks of propper masks got replenished, a few months into the Pandemic, we got our first glimpse of helpful information from authorities. People were at this point required to cover their mouths (and noses) with whatever they managed to buy. For the first time, communication was made cristal clear; homemade masks were close to useless but better than nothing. Cotton blue surgical masks were much better; N95 covers were the best.
This ever-evolving message, from its outlandish beginnings to the factually correct statements, in the end, is a tragedy. Having government officials lying and sugarcoating facts has become the norm, sadly. Having health authorities acting along these lines is lethal. There is no possible excuse for these people’s actions. Regardless of their intention, they are literally killing their citizens.
There are consequences to getting the wrong information.
To this day, I see people wearing generic homemade masks and generic cloth ones. I wonder how many of these missed the memo that they are close to useless. That is the problem with health authorities not communicating with clear messages based on science and making up stories to serve their circumstances. People actually missed health authorities’ last version of advice on masks.
No one likes wearing masks. People wear them out of a need for protection or regulations imposed on them. Since they are wearing them, it makes no sense to use the worst possible option available to them. Surgical masks are cheaper than most cloth-based ones. I truly believe this group does not have precious information on protection levels provided by different covers against an airborne virus.
People wearing a mask without covering their noses are beyond pathetic. They convince me that some of us are not that far away from some extinct branch of apes lacking basic survival instincts. It has been one year and a half: You could potty train the stupidest of dogs faster than this.
We did a terrific job vaccinating people.
The Portuguese government gave control over the vaccination efforts to a career military. Vice-Almirante Gouveia e Melo — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrique_Gouveia_e_Melo — without hiccups and idiotic misinformation messages, made vaccines available to every Portuguese citizen.
He was verbally attacked by anti-vax movements. So, yes, we also have a small and very loud percentage of idiots. But folklore aside, he got over 90% of the country vaccinated. A truly heroic effort and a terrific job that could not be more different from what we got from health authorities.
All in all; We were lucky.
Thankfully we did not have political parties casting doubt over vaccines and false treatments; Just Facebook profiting from spreading incorrect information and dividing people, like the rest of the world. It’s their business model, what they do. It’s pure evil. Whatever gets people engaged with the platform is fine for Facebook…
Although delivering the initial official misinformation from authorities, the broadcast media at least did not add any political twist to the nonsense. So we had, in that regard, better luck than our American and Brazilian counterparts.