Padilla: Communication matters

Obiter Dictum

EVERYONE is aware of the Covid-19 and everybody is taking precautions or so, I thought. People who think that Corona beer is just a meme, or so I thought. This will not really thrive in a climate like the Philippines so, I thought. And I was wrong.

Corona beer, an imported lager, has admitted slump in sales from the Covid-19 naming. Hysteria and yes, ignorance has the general public backing off Corona beer.

Though there is definitely no link between the novel coronavirus and the beer, the product has trended negative since the Covid-19 dominated the news feed.

March is becoming hot and temperatures are reaching 31 degrees and since Covid-19 is similar to flu, I was under the impression that it would just probably ‘melt’ like everything does in this city. But, No. As of today, there are already 10 cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines and one sure case of person-to-person transmission. Pres. Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency. Nope, Covid-19 did not burn in this weather.

Then I took a trip. Having sniffles, I wore a mask during my flight and took taxis to my local destinations. It is noticeable that others wore masks too but there were others who would still sneeze or cough in public. Some taxi drivers wore masks too. At hotels, front desk personnel wore the same and placed hand sanitizers near the monitors. Some maintained social distance, a lot did not.

Then a friend who travelled to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam sent me photos of the recurring reminders about the Covid-19 found in hotels, lampposts, buses, taxis, and in public places. Everywhere they went they were reminded ‘to call or visit hospitals if they had cough, fever or short breathing’. Hotels had sanitation and hygiene certifications and blasted coronavirus information on SMS. I looked for the same in the taxis I took, none. I asked one taxi driver how often they’d disinfect the taxi and he replied they would do carwash everyday. Do they use disinfectants in wiping the interiors of the taxi? None. I suppose the same goes for the buses. So, is everyone aware of the Covid-19? No.

Why? Despite the bevy of doctors and nurses this country produces (and exports to other countries), we miss out on the component that knowledge is useless unless it is shared. Increasing the awareness of the public about the virus could help prevent its spread and even contain it. So far there has been no visible information drive. By this, I mean the leaflets, brochures, posters, SMS blasts and not the press cons, radio talk shows, or social media posts like DOH people doing Tik Tok vids. I wonder why can’t a Covid-19 prevention campaign be as aggressive as the election where even the most unknown and the most inexperienced but wealthy candidate becomes a familiar name? Why?


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