There are many ways to see the past year. However, with the nightmare still at large, it makes sense to look at the events since March 2, 2020 and ask two questions: Has everything been done to prevent the deaths of more than 16,000 Portuguese? Do the problems uncovered by the pandemic teach us lessons from the present into the future? As for the first question, the answer is obvious: not everything has been done because, in the face of an unexpected and unknown threat, it was not always possible to know what to do. As for the second, there are a multitude of possible answers, many of which are contradicting, but which essentially allow one conclusion: Faced with the most serious threat in many decades, the country and its institutions have resisted.
In the balance sheets of this black year, it is inevitable that questions and answers will open up to politicization. Did the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic or the Minister of Health do what they should have done? Here it is normal and legitimate to share opinions. But here, too, it is imperative to look at ignorance, international experience and the decision-making process in each phase of the pandemic and to discuss what has been done in a context of uncertainty. We find ourselves in fertile ground for speculation and subjectivity. Was it ever wrong or just in December? And when did it go well? The recent re-election of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the polls favorable to António Costa only show that the majority of Portuguese believe that both of them did what they could. It’s worth what it’s worth
It is probably more useful to discuss how the country responded. How he reacted collectively. And there are more objective reasons to believe in proof of maturity. The rules were generally enforced without violent demonstrations, as we have seen in so many countries. The political system has remained stable. The productive fabric showed adaptability. Science has made a crucial contribution. The debate was rich and open. Schools and hospitals have demonstrated efficiency and sense in public service. Europe helped. The vaccination schedule came into play. The state did not respond as it should in the moratoria or in support, but it showed an effort and a sense of solidarity.
It is risky to venture to be optimistic when the disease has spread, death has set in, and the crisis has led so many families into misery. But a year later it is important to see what happened in perspective. If a year ago someone predicted the tragic effects of the pandemic and said the country would stay head high despite everything, it would be considered crazy. That happened.