Espinoza: Let's stay safe and alive

Free Zone

WITH the increasing number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Cebu City, pardon me, but my fearless forecast is that the figure would still go up unless all the Cebu City residents comply and observe the health protocols. As of Sunday, Cebu city has recorded new 21 cases or a total 1,740 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The good news though is that the number in recoveries has increased to 109 compared to deaths. The Cebu City Health Department reported that 12 of the 21 new cases were from Barangay Sawang Calero, three from Sitio Negative in Barangay Carreta and six male inmates from the Cebu City Jail.

It's not amusing to know that Cebu City now tops the list in the entire country with confirmed Covid-19 cases followed by Quezon City with 1,558 cases as of Sunday. This simply suggests that health protocols such as the wearing of face mask, social distancing and washing of hands with water and soap or alcohol and more importantly, staying at home were ignored.

Apparently, the areas in Cebu City that are badly hit by the virus are congested, like Sitio Alaska in Mambaling, Sawang Calero and Carreta. The people in these areas live in damp and squalid condition where physical distancing is nil. It's a pity that this sector in our community is the most vulnerable to this virus than the elderly, who are better-off, that the government wants to protect.

With the lockdown on these areas, what and how would these people survive without the financial and food assistance from the government? So, it's not surprising if some residents in these lockdown areas would sneak out to seek for food and other necessities. Not even the mass rapid testing conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the local government units could provide the answer to this pandemic and the restless citizens.

Today, the towns and component cities of the Province of Cebu, except Talisay City, would revert to the general community quarantine (GCQ) while the cities of Cebu and Mandaue remain under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Lo and behold, for Cebu City residents. our involuntary confinement at home shall continue until the end of May. I wish it would not be extended for another month.

With the invariant border protocols among the cities of Lapu-Lapu (GCQ) and Mandaue and Cebu (ECQ), the workers who will be reporting back for work in their respective establishment will experience difficulty in crossing the borders, especially those working in Cebu city but living in the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, or in the neighboring towns and vice versa.

To the scientists and health experts, this coronavirus would be around for quite some time even if a vaccine is already available. Lancet, a respected British medical journal, in its editorial "Covid-19: engames" (April 17, 2020), stated that "ending the Covid-19 pandemic will take many more months, if not years, so it is time to revisit what we know and make some difficult choices about mitigating subsequent infection waves."

It said "the key reason for the lockdowns is to allow the health-care systems to cope with a spike of severe cases." President Duterte implemented the lockdown but termed it quarantine to avoid criticisms. The difficult choices that we are going to make are staying at home, avoiding the crow or gatherings and complying with the health protocols until a proven vaccine is available. As they've been saying, this is now the new normal.

So, let's stay safe and alive than going out often and end up in a hospital, or worse, dead.


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