Quarantine Questions

My head is whirling on this rollercoaster ride. More than a week ago, Mayor Legacion officially confirmed Naga’s first Covid-19 patient (or at least, based on official claim). Immediately (and admirably if I may say so), a part of Concepcion Pequeña was put on lockdown. Then, before the recommended minimum 14 day quarantine period ended (Heck, even before my article on it gets published), the neighborhood gets the clearance and the city is declared clean. Then just when logic was saying that the next probable infection could be around the places the patient had come in contact with (not that I would want them to be infected), a new patient is declared positive across the city in Calauag. What gives? That’s practically different sides of town. Well, it’s not a very big city. It’s practically less than an hour apart. Now, there are barricades around and within the whole place. According to reports, the patient who has now passed away, does not have a travel history; not even to Metro Manila. The way I understand it, the senior patient is too senior and lived a simple life that he barely gets around away from his home. With this so-called community quarantine having gone on from March 16 (or around that time) and high risk persons kept from social contact, how could something like that have happened? How does a 5 year old in Legazpi die of this dreaded disease, much less get infected from the start. Have not classes been earlier suspended? Why does it seem that the ends of the age spectrum are the ones falling down Well, the grandmother of the Sister Therese patient was declared negative; so maybe that’s not a very fair observation.

Now, that even delivery personnel would not want to run their bikes through Bagumbayan Norte, residents of metropolitan Naga should be asking how does infection really occur. This is one very important detail that is not fairly discussed in official press releases. We have been persistently educated that the Coronavirus could be incurred through droplets in close physical distance with carriers, which could be prevented with protective equipment and good old fashioned proper hygiene. To control the contagion, entire Luzon has been treated to an initial four week stay-home quarantine; so we all don’t huddle together and exchange droplets from our bodies. The domestic confinement has been given a two week extension which I don’t understand why they have to contemplate on, when it was too obvious that the local situation of the pandemic blew up exponentially, and therefore needed more time to simmer down. Authorities have often and repetitively dismissed theories that the virus sticks on plastic containers or money, or that it spreads airborne. (Then, why are government personnel disinfecting the community streets?) With those in context, how did our modest Calauag resident get Covid-19 when official press releases directly acknowledge that he does not even have recent history of going to Manila; and experienced his health difficulties two weeks into the quarantine? He could not have moved around when as a senior citizen, he could not have been issued that oh so powerful quarantine pass. He should have been safe, shouldn’t he? So, how on earth did the poor elderly get the “virus”? If he really got infected with NCOV and died of Covid-19, from whom did he get the infection? With all the social distance and quarantine, how did the droplets get to him? Maybe the virus does not transmit only by droplets in close physical distance. Maybe infections could occur in other ways. Maybe the virus could be airborne. Maybe we really don’t understand the disease and its mode of infection as much as we claim to do so. Maybe the Calauag resident did not really die of Covid-19.

In exploration of alternate realities, if the case in question is not an authentic Covid case, a whole community has unjustly become a penitentiary crisscrossed with barricades; taking the brunt of an intensified struggle of acquisition of basic necessities. Just when it was already difficult to get food, one could not even get around the barangay anymore; which if you don’t realize make grabbing for grub even more grueling. Furthermore, it has undeservingly propagated prejudice against the family of the resident now in repose. Would not that be a waste of protective effort if this were not a genuine case. But to save ourselves from that feeling of frustration, let’s brash off that idea from our minds.

Now, as the President has declared, let’s pray for the nation.

“Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9