Conflict of interpretations and the latest developments of the pandemic in Moldova. Op-Ed by Ala Tocarciuc


The correct interpretation of the situation and of the information presented will allow many people to decide correctly in this situation.”

I assume you played with a broken phone game as a kid? The broken phone generated multiple funny moments, thanks to different interpretations. We're all different and often hearing the same information we're going to interpret it differently.

I decided to write this material about hermeneutics, which in Greek means to interpret or to explain some texts. The name derives from the name of the Greek god Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods and the interpreter of the orders of Zeus.

Many conflicts in our society are determined by a different interpretation of information. With the relentless flow of the digital narrative, correct interpretation is becoming extremely important. I would name many of the current conflicts as conflicts of interpretation.

I will try to explain the conflict of interpretations on examples from the pandemic, so that we can correctly interpret the data and presented information. Proper interpretation is vital for the preparation of decisions and the transmission of the correct information.

The subject of the pandemic is not missing from the latest news and headlines for several months. The last few days several people have been asking what's going on with the pandemic, are we really lucky to break the virus? Several diverted interpretations appeared on social media, and I even noticed a relaxation on the street, and at the gym, where I go.

What's going on?

Geographically, Moldova is located in the Northern Hemisphere, and here is now autumn already. The virus spreads better if temperatures drop. That doesn't mean, that he doesn't spread under other conditions. In the cold he lives longer and passes more easily from man to man.

People started spending more time in houses and enclosed spaces. Frequent and long-lasting contacts contribute to the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Among the people who have contacted the virus, about 80% - most of them young - are going to be asymptomatic carriers. Another 20% will have symptoms from middle to severe and will go to family doctors, and 5% will go to intensive care unit. We don't see those 80% in family doctor offices or in emergency medicine units. But they are among us and transmit the virus uncontrollably.

We here in Moldova have not undertaken anything essential that will now stop the virus. Only a total quarantine could stop the avalanche of illnesses now, the ones that are not applied.

We here in Moldova have not reached the level of 60% of herd immunity, which may change the situation and reduce the pressure on the medical system. Even the vaccine against COVID-19 is not yet available.

We didn't start testing more to see the real number of patients. We also cannot speak of a "casodemia", a phenomenon noted in some countries with broad testing capabilities. Even those with symptoms, which meet the case definition are not tested, until 4-5 days after referral to the doctor.

For the prevention or treatment of the virus nothing has yet been invented. All vaccines and medicines are still in the research phase.

Most countries in Europe are experiencing a large increase in new cases of COVID-19, and have started to apply tougher restrictions and states of emergency for the next three months.

Our neighbors have been through similar experiences recently and have certain consequences. Local elections in Romania on September 27th multiplied the daily number of new cases to three and colored the country in red in less than three weeks. Local elections in Ukraine on October 25th registered a turnout of only 37%. Many experts noted the impact of the pandemic and a decrease in the number of voters by about 10%.

It is required a correct interpretation of the information

We cannot say that the falling figures are incorrect. The number of tests carried out has decreased and the number of new positive cases is lower. We have a decrease in the number of positive cases confirmed by testing. That doesn't mean the pandemic is retreating. The pandemic in Moldova is accelerating as in other countries in Europe. The risk of contacting the virus increases every day. The virus has become more contagious and resistant.

Factologically, we have no precondition that allows us to consider the shrinking pandemic here. In conclusion, it would be to write, that we see only one corner of the real picture. How we interpret the whole picture based on this, what the consequences would be to prepare for, it is important to know.

Pandemic elections

The presidential elections will be organized and held in a few days. The pandemic is not a barrier to this event now, even if the daily number of cases were over 1000.

Those who intend to come to the polls will be fitted with masks, gloves, pens, and come to the polling station. Members of the electoral commissions will do their job as in other years. It's just that now it's going to be with visors, masks, gloves, and some luckier, maybe even disposable protective clothing.

If we neglect the simple precautions, we risk coloring the country in red before the second round, expected on 15 November. The virus is not aware of our polls.

The correct interpretation of the situation and the information presented will allow many people to decide correctly in this situation.

Repetition is the mother of knowledge

In Moldova elderly people are less institutionalized, staying in rural areas around their homes, and this was for us a protective factor in this pandemic. Now they will come to the polling sectors and expose themselves to danger. To mitigate the risk, it would be good to provide these people with masks and gloves at the entrance to the polling station, as well as exit training and controlled decontamination. Do you remember the stories about infecting doctors with incorrect dis-equipment? We can avoid them now with old-age voters.

Community activities and mobilizing of volunteers could help to carry out these functions. There are students from various universities, who can be mobilized to such activities.

To healthy and gullible in various COVID-19 prophylaxis schemes, I would recommend not to administer excess medications. The same vitamin C can cause damage if received in high doses over long periods of time. Proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, daily physical activities, are enough to keep you healthy.

To those who have already become infected, I write a short message: contact your GP and avoid self-treatment. It's not good to interpret various social media recommendations as panaceas and apply them to your own body. It can be serious, and the consequences can be dramatic, if you waste time.

We expect a large increase in new cases of COVID-19 in the coming months. That's inevitable and it's out of our personal control. Each of us, however, can avoid infection if we protect ourselves individually. We don't have drugs yet against this virus, but we do have the protective mask. And that's already a major advantage and a virus-stopping tool, if we're wearing it right.

The choice to correctly interpret the information belongs to each of us!