[TEC-MED] COVID-19 in Spain: impact on the elderly population
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a global health emergency. As stated by the World Health Organization on March 11, the outbreak of COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic in a few weeks. Initially located in China's Hubei region, the COVID-19 outbreak has spread rapidly throughout the world in recent weeks, being Spain one of the most affected countries in the world at the present day with a very worrying increasing rate of infection.
Since the first case detected in Spain last January 31, as it is well known, one of the groups most affected has been that of the elderly. In this way we suffered during the last weeks the suspension of activities in the centres of the elderly public and private sector, as well as the prohibition of visits.
On March 14, Spanish government decreed the State of Alarm due to the expansion of Covid-19, including a wide scope of social and economic measures. Also, some companies have made telecommuting easier for their employees. One of the most important social measures that the government has taken in this regard is to earmark a contingency fund of €300,000,000 to strength proximity services at home to guarantee care, support, connection to the environment, security and access to food, especially those aimed at the elderly, disabled or dependent, thus compensating for the closure of dining rooms, day centres, occupational centres and other similar services, considering the greater risk that these people assume in case of infection. These services include home help in all its forms and any other of a similar nature that is provided at the user's home.
Additionally, a few days after that, the government announced that private nursing homes will be under the control and coordination of the regional governments. The situation is so critical that, in the last days, the Spanish army has been mobilised to apply measures relating to the cleaning and disinfection of many public and private nursing centres.
There has also been a lot of help from all kinds of volunteers and companies to collaborate in these difficult circumstances, for example, developing self-diagnosis web portal and mobile apps to help the population, making protective masks and respirator valve parts with 3D-printers, sewing protective masks and medical gowns or helping elder people shopping food.
We hope that with the joint work and collaboration of the entire population we can get out of this crisis as soon as possible. And of course, to finish, a big round of applause for ALL our healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, caregivers, cleaners and all you can imagine). All of you are our heroes, our guardian angels, our soldiers against the virus.