Editorial: When the fighting is over

TODAY, Davao City is on its 20th day of community quarantine and the first day of the enhanced community quarantine. But before this, some parts of the Philippines as well as other countries have long been battling with coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Measures to avoid further transmission and spread of the virus involve staying at home except for essential errands and working, wearing masks, and applying sanitizers upon entry to establishments.

Just as the terrorist attacks 15 to 20 years ago normalized the way we do security checks in malls and airports now, so will Covid-19 normalize social distancing and proper public hygiene.

Wuhan in China, where the virus originated, was reported to lift their lockdown on April 8, 2020. Meanwhile, the countries that have gotten the virus later after Wuhan will still have a long way to go. No one exactly knows when this Covid-19 threat is going to leave us. More than a health crisis, this has also been an economic and psychological challenge – recently it has also become political.

But amid the silent streets and closed establishments, we would like to take a few steps back and review the current situation from this perspective.

People would take their sentiments online and wish for things to be “normal” again. But whether we like it or not, THIS will be the new normal. Because of Covid-19, the world has changed extremely from different angles and different aspects. Because of Covid-19 business establishments as well as schools will take their online presence more seriously.

Hopefully, the government will also see the importance of health practitioners, healthcare system, and the transportation system as far as social distancing is concerned.

By this time, it is foolish to think that the 2019 normal will be the same 2020 normal in the coming months. It will be different.

But what is very difficult to change and to manage is our temper and the way we react to issues. Just last Thursday, April 2, 2020 as the #OustDuterte became trending on Twitter, people in different political sides argued about a portion of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech. Others claimed that the government shouldn’t be making death threats now when some Filipinos are starving because of the quarantine, while others defended the president because his speech was misunderstood.

It became a messy, unintellectual banter even involving celebrities and local personalities.

Times like this, we see the worst of the people coming out. We see how people insult others who disagree with them, drag them through the mud, and talk trash against them. We forgot humanity. We forgot that beyond all the political differences what needs to be achieved is the victory against the virus. We forgot that the fight is not against one another but against Covid-19.

It’s such a huge embarrassment to our medical frontliners and scientists that while they’re risking their lives saving other people and discovering cure for the disease, the rest of us are on social media insulting and being angry at each other like rabid animals.

When all of this is done, it really doesn’t matter whose political side we are on. What matters is whether or not your humanity is intact amid the crisis.


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