THE BOTTOM LINE
Now that the coronavirus has suddenly appeared in our lives with a vengeance and is leaving a trail of deaths wherever it goes, we are starting to realise that we are much more vulnerable than we thought.
The so-called welfare state can't cope, when faced with the onslaught of a virus of this magnitude which has taken us by surprise.
We didn't see this pandemic, which now has the whole country confined within our homes, coming.
There were warnings, but they failed: too many people believed everything was under control and the optimists supposed that the new virus would stay in Asia.
They were wrong. We know that now, when everything is out of control.
It is never too late to rectify previous mistakes, although it is of course much too late for those who have fallen along the way.
To say that nobody expected a situation like this, that it seems like something out of a science fiction novel, would be a lie.
There were people warning of the danger of infectious illnesses, who were telling us that globalisation acts as a trigger for viruses.
The voices raising the alarm were silenced, though. We didn't want to listen to them. We thought we knew better, that this wouldn't affect us, that Europe would be safe from new illnesses, that this type of suffering only killed people in poor countries.
That was a big mistake.
In serious situations like those being experienced by Spain and the rest of the world right now, the first thing we need to do is join forces to beat an infection which is wreaking havoc among elderly people and those who are weak, and the second is to learn the lesson so in future this will not happen again.
We have to act more like ants and less like cicadas. If we don't change, we are playing with our lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has opened our eyes and made us differentiate between gold and tinsel, the accessory from the necessary.
Once we have seen the storm clouds above our heads, and we have now, we realise what is really important.
And it is very important to improve the Health Service in this country and provide it with more human and material resources, increase the funding for research and never impose cutbacks on health again.
Let's see if we are able to learn from this.