Despite the consistently high number of new infections, bars and restaurants have been reopening in Madrid for a long time. A strategy that is based on political calculation.
Madrid – Spain and above all the capital Madrid were hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic, especially at the beginning of the corona pandemic last year. Pictures of overcrowded hospitals with beds in the corridors went around the world and the ice rinks in the metropolis were quickly converted into morgues in order to be able to absorb the large numbers of victims from the corona virus. Over a year later, the infection situation in the Spanish capital is still tense, but the picture on the streets of Madrid is completely different.
Corona pandemic in Madrid: “Swedish model” in Spaninen – “Madrid is freedom”
Bars, restaurants, gyms have been open for weeks despite a nationwide incidence of over 100 and offer the population of Madrid plenty of space to party. At least until 11 p.m., when the night curfew takes effect. Then the party activities tend to shift to private interiors, which leads to an increased workload for the Madrid police, who are busy every night with the resolution of private parties.
Responsible for the radical openings in the Spanish metropolis, which has not had a 7-day incidence of less than 150 since autumn, is the conservative regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has been promoting the openings in Madrid for months and the requirements of the central government – actually Setting the course in fighting a pandemic – pushing it to the limit. “Madrid is freedom” is the 42-year-old’s motto. Ayuso is following a “Swedish model” for their region, explains political economist Miguel Otero Mirror online. This includes as normal an everyday life as possible with open gastronomy in contrast to uncontrolled spreading infections.
Corona in Spain: Despite record death rates – extensive freedoms in Madrid
A strategy that has its price. 15,000 people have died in Madrid since the pandemic began. A statistic in which the Ayusos region is at the top in a Spanish comparison – experts actually expect significantly higher death rates. The intensive care units in the Spanish capital still have their hands full. Both with current corona patients and with those who suffer from the long-term consequences of an infection.
According to an assessment by epidemiologists, an even worse pandemic course in Madrid could only be prevented because the residents of the metropolis took measures to contain them regardless of the requirements of their regional government. This would emerge from mobility data, among other things. In addition, there is the fact that a comparatively large number of Madrilenians were infected with the corona virus in the first wave and are now considered to have recovered in combinations with force majeure. A record-breaking snowstorm that virtually paralyzed the city in January could have acted as a kind of natural lockdown.
Corona in Spain: Political calculation between radical openings in Madrid
Experts see the early elections in Madrid, which will take place on Tuesday, as the reason for Ayuso’s persistently relaxed corona pandemic. The 42-year-old hopes for the voices of those Madrilenians who are active in the event or catering industry. A plan that could work in the end. Ayuso is 40 percent in the current polls. In the end, it could be a political victory for which Madrid residents paid a heavy price. (fd)
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