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with vaccine, the greeting relaxes and there is already talk of flexible bubbles

What is the first thing you would do when the pandemic ends? “Hug my friends. Well, I hug them anyway. I would hug them without fear, let’s say. This week I’m taking better care of myself because I’m going to see my parents,” says Carola to Clarion.

Who could judge her? Since she, who works as an administrator in a wholesale chain, has 40 and the two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, many people are not waiting for the 0 count of positive cases of coronavirus to to hug and kiss your acquaintances again.

On social media and on the street, at night and during the day, the climate of more meetings and outings leads to a specific question: did everyone hug each other again? And to kiss too?

Flexibility in contact with others is the elephant within the pandemic in Argentina, where cases have dropped for 15 weeks and where, also, everyone assures that a third wave will arrive due to the Delta variant.

Specialists explain to Clarion the risk that this may have, together with the sociological and psychological view of why it is so hard for us Argentines to stop contact.

The end of the fist salute

Nicolás Damin, doctor in Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), talks about “Flexible social bubbles”. From the end of the – “hateful” or “savior”, it depends for whom – fist bump.

Carola, who lives in Villas Ballester and was honest in the first paragraph, exemplifies it: “Before we saw each other outdoors in a bar or a house and we made the fist. There was no hug or goodbye, although we did not know when we were going to be able to see each other again. And if we were somewhere, much less. They were going to look at us badly. Now everything is fine and, thinking about it, it seems crazy to me to have greeted my lifelong friends with that distance. But it was all wrong before, now it’s calmer“.

Damin focuses on those little repeated “public” moments. In that kind of contact eroticism (not because of the sexual thing itself, but because of the bodies that collide, for example between face-to-face co-workers) in the best style 50 social contacts released.

“One indicator is that hugs and kisses are observed in public streets, squares and bars. They are signs of trust and social proximity. They are given to an acquaintance or reference. Someone with extended trust. That is, now the bubbles are expanding with the familiarity of the network of belonging. Intimate contacts were not unlimited in life before the pandemic, “says the expert.

Just as when there is a World Cup there are “45 million technical directors”, now there would be “45 million infectologists”. And hugging and kissing on the cheek happens with those who believe that they have the “high”, symbolic, to give and receive them. It is the era of I already had and you already had or that of we are already vaccinated.

Campaign hug. From President Alberto Fernández. In the street, people also relaxed the greeting. Photo Twitter.

“Most of them can trace, without having an epidemiological look, the people they found: their neighbors, friends, study or work colleagues, know if they are in good health, if they take care of themselves or if they are vaccinated. It can be said that the monitoring The individual of the social environment is the pillar of the new normality.Argentinans learned to live with the pandemic.The return to schools, sports spaces and public facilities are signs that run through public speeches, the media and daily conversations. The feeling of prolonged risk and constant alertness that was lived for a year and a half is relaxing ”, Damin brand.

Eduardo López, the renowned infectologist and government advisor since the beginning of the pandemic, agrees that “social bubbles became extremely flexible.” The only exception, he stresses, is in schools, where the current protocols are. If hugs and kisses are already a fact, López asks that let’s continue with the chinstrap.

“Between families, all vaccinated, without symptoms and indoors, there can be kisses and hugs and take off the mask. Between strangers, none of the three should happen. The vaccinated person can become infected and, above all, can infect. Still today, with the capacity with which Argentina is vaccinating, we can’t relax. With the two doses, 35% of the population is vaccinated. The countries that were making social behaviors more flexible did so with a complete vaccination rate above 60%“, compare.

With the fist.  The greeting institutionalized by the Covid.  Photo: Amanda Perobelli / REUTERS

With the fist. The greeting institutionalized by the Covid. Photo: Amanda Perobelli / REUTERS

In countries like the United States, “which did not vaccinate well above 50% of the total,” there are still many cases. “Self-care, based on a chinstrap, hand washing and social distancing, must be maintained. Especially among strangers. Too flexible behaviors before the first days of October, when the goal of vaccination with two doses is expected to be reached, they do not help to stop the pandemic“, he warns.

To touch is to want (or to transgress?)

Sergio Grosman is a psychiatrist and vice president of the Psychotherapies chapter of the Association of Argentine Psychiatrists (APSA). But he’s also a relationship expert. That is why he says that in people there are a balance between fear and the need for contact.

“The fact that we receive positive news, towards the conclusion of the pandemic, a drop in the number of infections and deaths, that we have some protection with the vaccine, makes that balance lean more towards the need for affection, to regain contact It is our way (as Argentines) to represent it socially. (Hugs and kisses) are the forms that the social enjoyment“, he points out.

That does not mean that the tribune of “contained huggers”. Those who prefer to meet again but “up to there” in contact. “They keep their distance, out of fear, regardless of whether society leads them to break it. Like when activities are authorized or many people may be eating in a closed space. That is an authorization for a certain closeness and there will be prisoners of fear who cannot get on that and they will continue to take care of each other in the strictest way.

Is there a middle ground? From the couch to science, Grosman makes his contribution more tangible with the results of a neuronal study with rodents. “Some deprived them of physical contact with their mother, others allowed spontaneous contact, and others put oil on their skin for their mother to clean them, which is one of the forms of expression of affection and care. The first had a poorer neural network, the second developed a regular neural network and the most ‘licked’ by the mother ‘had a better neural network. Physical contact, such as affection, marks us and is part of our architecture of love“Close. To touch is to want to. And, sometimes, to transgress.



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