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We’re not being Complacent

Months ago, we were talking more about infection; now, we’re talking more about injection. That’s an improvement. Despite Russia’s flaunting of their Sputnik and outgoing US President Trump’s haughtiness of the coming American vaccine which he wants to name after himself, the Brits actually beat them in the race. I suppose they really have to save the Queen. Locally, we hear that there are around three vaccine applicants that have managed to pass the food and drugs ethics board. So, I guess we are catching glimpses of silver blinking lights in this Covid cloud. News has it that the earliest target is March 2021.

However, before that time, the populace is strongly urged to maintain health protocols in this season of social togetherness. I keep hearing experts blowing their bullhorns against complacency; that we all should maintain being facially protected and socially separated. Yeah, yeah, we know that and we agree. We all need that. This time, let’s just take a look at the other end of the spectrum.

There was this Asian survey that ranked Filipinos second to the Nepalis in being compliant to Covid-19 health protocols. It is simply relieving that in the local scene, face masks is not a political issue, and most people really do their best to cover their faces in public religiously. Nevertheless, there comes a point in the day when the face mask becomes seriously suffocating. Usually in the afternoon, after prolonged wearing of the mask, breathing becomes challenging, aggravated by a burning sensation on the nose and mouth area. This may be felt while the mask wearer is catching his/her breath walking or catching a ride home. In this circumstance, the wearer may not get sick of Covid, but may get sick of some other respiratory or skin disease. Since the carbon dioxide we exhale could not be released to the open air when wearing a mask, it would naturally find a way out, not downward because the covering is strapped tight around the chin. The same is true sideways on the cheeks. So, that warm nasal exhaust would find its way up, irritating the eyes. There are also some issues of skin irritation around the nose and on the cheeks. So, put difficulty of breathing, eye and skin irritation, warm facial sensation all together, while in motion, at some point, the mask wearer may want to slip it off down to catch a little relief.

The additional protection of this transparent plastic that is the face shield is certainly much appreciated. However, does that not blur the whole extent of the plane of vision of the shielded face? The material being transparent would reflect and refract light and more so with sunlight making vision even more inconvenient. This would become seriously dangerous when crossing a road with passing vehicles with drivers armed with a newly found audacity to increase speed since no children go out on the streets to go to school. The blurred vision may also pose danger when climbing steep steps, passing through glass doors, or narrow walkways. Now, since the recommendation is that the face mask and shield be worn together, the wearer may be experiencing slight suffocation, warm facial sensation, skin and eye irritation, and blurred vision which may potentially cause unwanted physical contact. So, maybe, that person who uses the face shield as a visor is just avoiding getting hit or hitting something, or tripping on the stairs up E-Mall.

Authorities insistently call for social distance. Is that even feasible? Common folk would probably take the jeepney if they don’t have 20 pesos to shell out for a solo tricycle ride. Naturally, the first seats that would be taken are the ones nearest upon entry. When most of the seats would have been taken, a new passenger would make his/her way through the gauntlet of seated passengers to the front end of the vehicle. Definitely, this is a usual and regular occurrence everyday. Now, how’s that for social distance? Had there been actual virus, it may have stuck on that plastic curtain which a passenger could not avoid coming in physical contact with. There is simply no way anyone could not touch that plastic sheet, especially if the jeep has become crowded with passengers. Now, that’s just about a jeepney ride. That’s just the beginning of the time outside the house. How about queuing up for entry? Isn’t it ridiculous that clients line up to have their E-Salvar ID’s checked for contact tracing while they’re all close together on the line? Contact tracing while sacrificing social distancing?

One thing more, a friend tells me that their office is holding a beach Christmas party. He tells me that it would be safe because they would be following health protocols in the party. Really?

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3


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