The family doctor Javier Arranz (Barcelona, 1962) was the voice of Balearic health during the covid, as spokesman for the infectious diseases committee. He is now carrying out the rotation prior to his reinstatement at the Escola Graduada de Palma health center, and on alert in case he should travel to Turkey
To take over the type of interview: “How much have you aged in two years as a covid spokesperson?”
Shortly after, I started boxing and I’ve rejuvenated. I practice it in a neighborhood club, it is a very demanding and recommended activity.
Did you ever think this was sinking?
Absolutely. We were living in a new situation, with difficulties in management and in decisions never taken before, but at no time did I feel overwhelmed.
Maybe because you are phlegmatic.
No, but in some WhatsApp group in which colleagues said that “we can’t take it anymore”, I replied that “perhaps we have studied a career to be here at this time.”
Was the spokesman closely touched by the covid?
Not especially between relatives, who evolved well. The most negative thing was the death of a doctor close to my age.
Did you feel afraid?
Not for me, but I was afraid for my wife, who is also a family doctor and was on the front line. Every morning she told him to be vigilant and careful.
Those under 50 should not have been confined.
Yes they should have been confined, it was a positive measure when it was established. On the other hand, I have the feeling that the lack of confinement or de-escalation could have accelerated in the younger sections.
Is this covid thing over?
Not yet, because the WHO has been cautious in withdrawing the emergency. But you can tell in the environment that the covid is over as we have known it. It has lost intensity and negative charge. We are assuming it as another disease, although the pictures triggered by the coronavirus in the long term are worrying.
Did it bother you to be called the Mallorcan Fernando Simón?
My colleagues joked that they would end up calling Simón the national Javier Arranz. I met him in the Ebola epidemic and we worked together. It is an honor to be compared to us, although he had broader functions, coordination and direction.
You trumpeted “guerrilla activism” to convince reluctant Mallorcans to get vaccinated.
Feelings about the vaccine evolved very quickly, some professional got vaccinated when it wasn’t time to play. I have close people who have not wanted to get vaccinated, and I thought that this individual “activism” could be more valuable than the impulse of a Government.
Did the pediatricians advise against vaccination of Mallorcan children, to the state queue?
I have no information, but it was a more difficult matter than in a proven vaccine, especially when it was said that the children did not get infected, that they did not infect others or that they suffered from a mild disease. Raising doubts is a very legitimate question as a father or mother, regardless of the reserved opinion of a doctor. The parents did not see the same risk in their children as in their parents.
And then the accusation that you were not an epidemiologist.
It’s true, and it doesn’t cause me any problems. Nor am I now, I have a lot of respect for the people who train, but public health is closely linked to primary care.
Will the covid influence the elections of May?
It is an interesting question. It will influence, but I don’t know in what way. The tendency to forget the bad includes the forgetfulness of the good things in painful situations. The complaint can be more than the analysis, especially if you have had the covid nearby.
Are you always so conciliatory?
On the contrary, I am temperamental, but my friends agree that I am used to being calm in complicated situations. This experience with the covid has taught me to agree with others, to lower the tension.
Are doctors the only human beings who do not want to live in Mallorca?
I don’t think there are more problems than finding other professionals. In fact, I have friends who wanted to come to the Balearic Islands and at no time did they point out the language as an obstacle, they were more concerned about housing prices.
Is it harder to put up with politicians than deal with journalists?
First of all, I like politicians less, although they have good intentions and I can only speak well of them, because they did not try to change my speech and in the Balearic Islands they respected the technical guidelines. Dealing with journalists is also difficult, but you have treated me quite well and I am not going to complain now.
What will be the next big threat?
I am concerned about the species jump of the contagious bird flu, which has passed from birds to mammals.