President Rodrigo Duterte and several key members of his Cabinet no longer jibe with their response to the continuing spread of the new coronavirus. Their statements last week could trigger caution fatigue among the people long wanting to come out of their boxes.
The President wants the quarantine imposition to stay, with no less than his spokesman, Secretary Harry Roque, stating that the Chief Executive is not yet confident to fully reopen the economy with the numbers still soaring.
There is also no guarantee yet that the trend will ease while the world awaits the results of the drugs and vaccine testing.
Hospital beds, both public and private, are also in danger of overcapacity like Cebu City, the new epicenter of the virus, is experiencing after its virus count peaked in the recent weeks.
It prompted the President to pivot down South, sending a team with an enhanced police and military presence to avert the further scaling up of the COVID-19 graph.
Metro Manila and its fringes also continue to see more COVID-19 infections.
And if we need further proof that the decision to downgrade to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) was faulty, just look at the number of the recently infected staff working at the MRT-3.
Multiply them with the thousands of people who have interacted with these infected MRT workers at the booths, inside the trains and on the available public transport that they have used to and from work, and we see another looming disaster in the next days.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has also ordered its Central Office shut down for the week as several of its staff also tested positive for the virus.
The risk of contamination is still there, even greater than when the government first declared a total lockdown in Luzon in March. The government’s concern is also even greater now, with the whole country not saved from the virus while our health care capacity is fast getting drained to its barest.
Mr. Duterte’s economic managers, however, say that we cannot afford further strict lockdowns. The economy should move or so they insist.
It has become the global trend, that of sacrificing the lives of the people in favor of the economy.
Down the factories, however, the workers also have the barest of protection — if at all.
Office workers with no means of private transportation also bet their lives between their salary and their families’ needs. The bus, transportation network vehicle services and jeepney drivers do, too, as well as the delivery crews.
We do not have crowded shopping malls yet, or resorts teeming with people. But we’ll get there soon even without an assurance that the COVID-19 threat will subside.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) seems to have accepted defeat to COVID-19. Statements coming from it now say that we “still could beat” the virus. How reassuring, ain’t it?
There is a study from a group of experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) that the country may see more than a hundred thousand COVID-19 victims by the end of August. Note the quick doubling up of transmissions from today as we only have 50,000 or so victims.
That study should raise an alarm not only to the government but also to us. We should not let our guards down, especially at this point when even the government and the WHO are lost in the fight against that speck of a killer.
Caution fatigue is real. It could be the accomplice whistled at by the new coronavirus to partner with in its deadly mission.
Let’s start thinking about how our behavior could directly affect our chances of getting sick.
We should think about our chances of spreading the virus to people around us. Because really, we’re on our own.