Cover me from COVID

Okay, now, maybe there’s a real reason for paranoia. Okay, maybe paranoia is too strong a word. Maybe, we could say, now, there’s real reason for alarm. I used to write against paranoia; but as I’m writing this, there are reports that there are some 35 cases of Covid 19 in the nation inside and outside Metro Manila. We can’t attest to the truth of rumors that there could be more unreported cases. I could understand that if I had the disease myself, I would keep it on the down low from the public radar. So, if there’s more of his out there, it won’t be surprising. Panic struck a sudden spike when reports of local transmission were publicized. Then, instead of that local transmission being contained, the domino pieces seemed to fall on each other one after the other; as reports of numbers escalated in hours and days. Examining the cases, it is obvious that the newly discovered/reported cases are those who had contact with previously reported confirmed cases, exacerbating the contagion. Realistically speaking, how many people would one person come in contact with in populated Manila? Multiply that with number of days. Multiply that with the number of confirmed cases. What are the odds that one of them is a Bicolano who decides to come home early for his/her nephew’s/niece’s graduation? That’s one sneeze away.

There have been suggestions for Metro Manila (and logically, the neighboring Region 4-A provinces) to be put on lockdown. (Oh, poor Batangas.) Let’s have some political will to contain this disease at least, in the nation’s capital, and not let it spread throughout the nation. Yes, I know sharing is good. But let’s give it a break for a while. Schools have been canceling classes. (Well, private schools, that is) Work places have been improvising in in quickly implementing a work from home scheme. Many assemblies in which multiple people would have converge are being canceled. I suppose, that’s a good procedure towards proactivity. Is there a possibility for all Covid patients to be in one hospital? I think that would decrease the risk of the virus from spreading further; or it would probably spread, but the source would be just one identified hospital. Could we set up check points on exits from Metro Manila, manned by military officer with face masks to keep NCR residents from touring the nation for a while? Could we do the same with airports?

But what would hasten the quickly creeping spread of the disease is the inversely proportional slowness of the authorities on making up their minds and making decisions towards effectively solving the problem. Why are the authorities taking so much time in making drastic solutions to match drastic problems. Why are leaders dilly-dallying on suspending classes, office work and gatherings? Why do we have to debate on having a disease stricken city on lockdown? Are they scanning through the rule books, orders, memoranda and circulars to make sure withholding people from get-togethers would not be illegal? Oh man, it took the President so much faster to abrogate the VFA because he felt so bad for Sen. Bato’s visa cancellation, than releasing an executive order on this one. I just realized that we Filipinos love tradition so much that we find it so hard to let go of regular classes, reporting to work, travel, graduation rites in exchange for protection from imminent danger.

On the other hand, I’m thinking, even if metro manila would be put on lockdown, with checkpoints on seaports, airports bus terminals, toll gates and whatever thoroughfare virus may go through, and build a barbwire, electrified wall around NCR, chances are, some ingenious Juan would find a way to slip through because he feels he’s freedom is being trampled upon. Sorry fellow countrymen, I think that in whatever circumstance the natural Filipino stubbornness would find its way to seep through the cracks.

We have heard of many suggestions on how we could possibly shield ourselves from catching the disease from a sudden sneeze or cough. I have heard about good sleep, sun bathing, good hygiene, continual use of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer, strong immune system and yes those face masks. But at the end and bottom of it all, we all would be resigned to fate. I stop and think that without a divine Hand keeping us from this plague, we would not stand a chance. Even if we resort to face masks, its efficient protection would demand around four changes of the article for each person every day. Is that even probable at this time? So what could we do now? Stock up food at run off going home? At the end of the day, we are resigned to fate. Let the Lord to protect us.

“The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you.” Deuteronomy 7:15