SSN Commentary

Locking Down With Spain

Policy field

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Bowdoin College

Originally Published as "Locking down with Spain," The Times Record, April 5, 2020

I was awarded a Fulbright to conduct research in Spain on medical history and was evacuated with my family in the middle of a global pandemic. Starting March 30, the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez advised citizens to go into hibernation, extending the state of alarm for yet another two weeks with the death toll now measuring over 800 lives lost to COVID-19 each day, making it the leading cause of death in the country. ICUs are overcapacity and overburdened and discussion is in place about moving patients between regional hospitals to make treatment more equitable.

Yet I returned to my home in Maine, not yet having a shelter-in-place issued across the state; one local paper described the response as “middle of the road”. With the lack of executive leadership at a federal level and lack of coordination between states, I have felt concerned we are not learning from our global neighbors. I am grateful to the governor’s new stay at home orders, and I am hopeful my fellow Mainers will listen and call for even stricter measures to be put in place for our state and across the country.