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Worse before better




Projections from experts do not offer little consolation after over a year of grappling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as they predict a new upsurge by midyear, an almost uncanny retracing of the crisis last year.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. indicated the findings of doctors of the infections peaking around June or July, meaning the high numbers seen worldwide are not yet the most destructive phase of the pandemic.

Strains that have mutated from the original virus are now proven more destructive while at the same time being easily transmissible compared to the original Covid-19.

The Philippines is caught in a difficult phase where vaccines are trickling in but not enough to even the battle as the contamination grows exponentially.

“We have to expect this coming June and July that we might have another peaking or surge,” Galvez said.

“We have to expect for the worse when we are planning something. We are now preparing for it, just in case,” he added.

World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has almost an exactly similar view as he cited seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, and four weeks of increasing deaths globally.

His statement disproves the spin that the worsening situation is inherent to the country and was the result of a lack of leadership.

Ghebreyesus cited the paradox of having recently the fourth highest number of cases in a single week despite more than 780 million doses of vaccine administered globally.

It gets more dire based on the revelations of Ghebreyesus.

“This disease is not a flu. Young, healthy people have died. And we still don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of infection for those who survive,” he warned.

Another irony is that many countries around the world have shown that the virus can be stopped by simply maintaining discipline, in which their citizens follow proven public health measures and strong systems that respond rapidly and consistently in keeping infections in check.

According to the WHO chief, confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are the culprit for the failures of many other nations.

It takes a consistent, coordinated and comprehensive approach to stop the spread of the virus, he added.

Many countries have little to worry about in terms of vaccine supply as they gained control over the pathogen much earlier on and their citizens are back to sporting events, concerts, restaurants and seeing their family and friends safely.

The rules remain the same as when the curse began.

“Physical distancing works. Masks work. Hand hygiene works. Ventilation works. Surveillance, testing, contact tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine and compassionate care, they all work to stop infections and save lives,” Ghebreyesus underscored.

The reality now is that intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying, which experts said were the result of instances that are fully avoidable.

Quick actions are essential to head off a looming catastrophe and what can be done should be done soonest.