A Recipe for Disaster

I have often wondered what is up with the national and local governments’ responses with this Covid-19 crisis which has brought us to what they call the “new normal”. Apparently, the “new normal” nowadays is a daily case ranging from 8 to 10 thousand. When we reached that milestone, that was a big shocker. Now, we have become desensitized that it seems “normal”. Oh, well.

I have been telling you about this person who was sent home by the company doctor because he/she had shown symptoms. So, his/her contacts were taken. I guess, this person was scheduled for the swab test sanctioned by the local government. Since the time the person suspected with the virus was sent home, and the company doctor informed the local authorities, a couple days passed before any actual test could be conducted. People who have the least concern would presume that authorities would have acted in some level of urgency. The LGU would have sent some of their staff in full personal protective equipment to administer the test at the potential patient’s home, or they could have had some transport to take the suspected case to some facility for the test to be conducted there, or maybe people from the barangay hall could do something similar, perhaps, get the person’s data and ensure that health protocols are observed all the more. Well, none of those happened. Instead, this person who had been sent home based on observations and recommendations of a licensed, professional medical doctor, took public transport to the local health office to have himself/herself tested. Then while smell and taste were already leaving his/her senses, he/she took the same route home. Okay, maybe they have their hands full.

So, you would expect that the immediate neighbourhood, as if watching in anticipation whether Steve Harvey would call Ms. Philippines as Ms. Universe or first runner-up, they hung on with bated breath for the test result. Once again, you would probably expect that since we don’t have the state-of-the-art technology, it would take maybe, some three days. But then, that days exceeded that three-day mark, then the day after, then the day after. Oh heck, a whole week passed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, more than 7 days passed before this person suspected with Covid received a text message from the barangay hall that the swab test results showed positive. Then health personnel and local barangay staff started appearing on the street to cordon off the area, and give instructions to people concerned. A whole week passed. For crying out loud, a whole week passed. It has been more than a year since the virus reached the Philippines, more than one year since the virus reached Bicol, more than a year since it has reached Camarines Sur. Variants of vaccines have already been developed and mass produced, and we’re still at this level.

This got me curious. Does the same thing happen to other suspected cases which turned out to be positive? Response seemed low on initiative, took a long time to be active, and far from intensive. Is this what has been happening all along? Could the authorities have gone weary of locking down here and there, testing, tracing and treating here and there? Or maybe this is just an isolated case.

Maybe, it’s not just the policies, it’s also the people. Some of the close friends, office mates of this person who tested positive, also tested positive. Some of them even got their results a little earlier. These are a group of friends who have gone on and were planning to go to swimming excursions. They had gone to this town, and that town to have some drinks until late at night. They would drive to the far end of the city to look at prospective lots to purchase, go on a road trip for some birthday or wedding, all in the presumption that no disease would descend upon their defences. As a matter of fact, one of these adventurers had liberally lingered up and down the subdivision streets, and marched around the masses in a mall during the time that there were suspicions of infection. While he/she was doing that, it would turn out that all along, he/she has actually been carrying the virus with him/her.

To spice things up, workplaces still go about with an unspoken slogan of “Proceed as if there is no Pandemic”. Assemblies continue to be held that violate social distance. Programs that inadvertently cause people to go out and stay out and engage in social interactions, are implemented. Tasks are set that indirectly require compliant members to converge and unknowingly cause a surge.

Inefficient policies, irresponsible people, that is a recipe for disaster. “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me”

Psalm 57:1