Oh my, Omicron



No matter how hard they push for this so-called “new normal”, the “old normal” or shall we call it, the “real normal” will find its way on top.


It’s nice to hear the barangay covered court come alive again with kids dribbling and shooting hoops. As soon as the barriers were allowed to be taken down, jeepneys have reverted to loading passengers sitting, skin to skin inside a jampacked sardine can on wheels, with the driver forgetting his face mask at home. I’m wondering, who let the dogs out on the streets. Excuse me. Some restrictions have been loosened but the pandemic is not over yet. Catching a virus is still very possible.


Last week, we witnessed a loosening of limitations, due to the drop of cases. Schools are even talking about the return of face to face classes. (Just when I have grown comfortable with turning on Zoom with the camera off, and googling for the answers on the assignment questions, now they’re going to make us report physically?) Early this year, in my unofficial estimates of survey of parents’ attitudes towards the resumption of face to face classes, the no’s have it by somewhere from 60% to 70%, a comfortable majority. Now, the tables have turned, with the yeses having it by some 80% to 90%, far greater than the opposition’s former advantage. I guess the exhaustion of assisting children in answering modules in the difficulty of imposing a schedule for study at home have won over paranoia pandemica. Of course, there are other factors like the growing number of people having received full vaccination and the aforementioned decline of active cases.


When things seem to be headed for the “better”, my cynical mind told me that somewhere along that seemingly flat paved path, a snake will slither out of the grass, or a rabid Rottweiler will run a rampage. It was around this time last year, November to December 2020, when we felt that we were getting out of the woods, and were jumping up and down in excitement for the streaks of light through the canopy of foliage that covered the horizon; and we were so sure that everything will certainly be okay. Then, at the turn of the year, came Delta.


The latest Greek alphabet couldn’t wait for the next year. It’s already rearing its ugly bald head around the corner. (I just wonder, why don’t the variants follow the order of the Greek alphabet. In that way, we would know what to call the next one that comes.)


Secretary Francisco Duque who after all these months, is still the Department of Health Secretary has been quoted that the coming of the Omicron variant to the country is not a matter of “if” but of “when”; implying of its inevitability and almost certainty. We just don’t know when it’s going to come. I guess he has a point there. It’s going to come when it’s going to come. No matter how we barricade our borders, it’s going to come. At least, he relayed it realistically. We appreciate that more than a superficial pat on the back that says, “don’t worry; everything is okay”.


But on the other hand, would we just brace ourselves for the inescapable surge of waves to gush us through, and wait to see who among us remains standing when it’s over? Then shall we do the same when another surge comes?


But haven’t we gone through the same movie scene over and over again? Maybe we could gather all our notes that we have taken from the start, read through and reflect on what we have learned (if we have learned at all)analyse past mistakes and formulate a better plan of facing yet another torrential storm. I suppose by now, we could make a long list of mistakes on the implementation of border control, quarantine, isolation, testing, contact tracing, treatment and health protocols that we could also make an equally long list of corrections of those mistakes. Maybe, the question is, ‘are we interested in correcting those mistakes?”. What did that proverb say about making the same mistakes and expecting different results? I for one, would want to maintain my sanity.


Meanwhile, the carnival of the campaign of candidates continues on. The recent realignment of restrictions has allowed aspirants to go all out on the sorties. Just this morning, there was a party at the covered court, with videoke, dancers shaking rumps to the tune of the latest hits played on the speakers with the volume cranked to the maximum, an emcee who doubles as a circus master and comedian, free food, free stuff and a raffle, and of course, the series of speeches of municipal and provincial candidates, before a crowd that have forgotten about social distance.


“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:9