Editorial: PH188

(Editorial Cartoon by Josua Cabrera)

PH188 may also be called CBU1, the first confirmed case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Cebu. He is 65 years old. The Department of Health’s (DOH) tracking website says he was admitted at the Chong Hua Hospital.

The good news is that he is recovering. Yes, one tough fellow in a time when this mutant virus had been most virulent against senior patients. It is worth noting, worth thanking God for.

PH188, however, didn’t have a history of foreign travel, an indication of local transmission, a haunting thought that this ghost of a disease is, to quote a movie, “walking around like normal people” in our midst.

When work on the arriving 100 test kits begins in Cebu, expect the flash cards to shift in quick successions. It’s a reality, it’s a pattern. The DOH itself predicts a swell of 75,000 in three months all over the country. We just marked our first case, a confirmation of our fear that, indeed, the virus right this minute already looms darkly in the immune system of not a few Cebuanos.

So we are at a crucial day when things could go awry if Cebuanos lose their cool. Panic is as contagious as the virus itself, and thus we need the constant reminding that Covid-19, although spreading like wildfire, hardly hits hard on a body in the pink of health. PH188 showed us just that, defying the theory that it claims the older ones.

In this battle, we fortify our trenches by feeding ourselves with just about everything that keeps our body systems in fighting form—vegetables, fruits, vitamins, fluids. These are not the stuff of expensive gourmet, but staple that even the poor among us can get by with a little enterprise.

So, dear Cebuanos, keep calm if only to keep our energy reserves for the long haul. This is one rare case that muddles just about every intersection in our community—health, economy, education, labor, etc. We weren’t prepared for this. Nothing could have, and all our measures most often merely amount to piecemeal, contingencies, and no small thanks to a number of officials that earlier refused to confront the beast eye to eye.
But it’s here, and we need that bit of solidarity, though maybe not in the political sense, but as humanity as a whole. We’re about to be fed into dire straits in the months to come, and survive we must with our better senses intact.


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