“Now we know what the birds feel”. I read the text message she sent me. "Maybe you will find this title ridiculous, but as we were talking about topics for the Newsletter...".
I looked out the window for a moment. Every single year I celebrate the arrival of the swallows. This year it was still raining and cold but I was already looking for them in the sky, flying low over us. “Of course, that's what Cristina wanted to say, now it's our turn!”, I thought.
We are trapped like the birds we keep in cages without caring if we have stolen their natural instinct for freedom. And now it's us, deprived of the freedom that we didn't know how to value as we took it for granted.
It was in mid-February that we decided that in March we would have to address the topic of the virus, whose explanations were not yet clear to us. In a few days, what we agreed would not be an exclusive topic throughout the newsletter, became the topic of our lives because it changed them completely.
In a few days, even without being forced, we wanted to go home ourselves. It is a very clear civic duty in this Faculty that teaches us to take care of others...
Without time to say goodbye, we became confined, without a last hug, or the last visit to friends, parents, grandparents... There was no time, not even to feel that we were saying goodbye to the routine that is so free after all. We stopped touching, exchanging gestures and materials, gathering, showing up. Every minute faced with accelerated death in China and then in Europe, we began to realize that heroes do wear gowns, health gowns, military uniforms, food gowns, or hygiene gowns.
Historical phrases from Churchill or Roosevelt resounded in my head, “We are at war, gentlemen”, but now the war is different, it came without a face, or nuclear weaponry, without a nation, or ideology. And the great men of history are today largely responsible for the worsening of the spread of the disease.
Trapped in the our cages, we listen to the reflections of the most knowledgeable, reinvent ourselves and create solutions without time for dramas, because dramas are mourned only when the wars are over, now there is no time.
This month's interviews do not require presentation.
This newsletter contains the interviews with the President of the Portuguese Medical Schools, our Director Fausto J. Pinto, Jubilee Professor and wise Infection Specialist, Francisco Antunes, and one person responsible for the Contingency Plan of the National Health Service, Pulmonologist at the Northern Lisbon Hospital Centre (CHULN), Filipe Froes. It also presents the brief explanations amid an unlimited generosity of the specialist and Director in Clinical Pathology at CHULN, Professor Melo Cristino, and the reflection of Pedro Duarte Almeida, Professor of Information Design at the Fine Arts School of Ulisboa.
This newsletter brings to you an historical survey of the great pandemics in the world and the report of the last talk, masterfully led by Emília Valadas, Professor and current Director of the Infectious Diseases University Clinic, and by Thomas Hanscheid, FMUL Professor and Researcher. It presents a conversation with Sónia Teixeira, a member of the editorial staff of the Newsletter working at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Office, who tells us about her life when she wears her uniform at the service of the Red Cross.
And there are also the first hand reports of those who are one of the groups of the major players of this episode, the students. They tell us about the speedy process of implementing distance learning classes and what they felt when the covid-19 pandemic became part of their lives. They also tell us what they are doing in the Department of Public and Sexual Health and that they were in Madeira implementing measures, when everything broke loose and the earth shook.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present the protagonist of this month, of this year and of the century, SARS-COV-2, the virus that made us live the zero day of our lives and forced us to refocus, look at each other and respect others before wanting to be respected.
We don't know when yet, but we will come out of the cage and fly again… although many of us will come down to pieces before it is opened…
For those who can fly again, never forget the learning brought about by this Great War, because it is in the face of the greatest storms that we become more human, but for that to happen, we will have to learn to look around without egos.
Are you at home? Stay right there and read us.
And you already know... We stay together.
Like birds in the cage waiting for the freedom that can only be achieved if we are now trapped.