BAGUIO

Fernando: The long wait

Paradigm

I WAS one with many who thought that the virus would not last long as it will just end or disappear after a couple of months. In the beginning, I even thought, like Trump did, that it was not that serious. Perhaps I had this idea because I never experience a pandemic before. Now, I keep looking at the development of the vaccine for Covid-19. I realized it would take more months and maybe even years to get hold of this vaccine. Here is a long wait for normalcy that we have to endure.

This is the fifth month since the local government declared the serious threat of the virus in our region. There were only a few cases at the start but the fear was getting real because of the quick rise of cases in other regions and countries. Flights were suspended and borders were closing. In the next months since the declaration, we started to record local transmissions and the number of cases, though maintained in a minimal number, rose to a nasty but manageable degree.

The local government responded with lockdowns and vigorous contact tracing. These measures resulted in a lowered number of cases in the city. It was promising news. It seemed like the spread was contained and people are starting to think that we were on our way to normality. We had a two-week run without any record of the Covid-19 case. Imagine the excitement and the rejoicing of the community. The city was even cited for its effective countermeasures against the virus. (Well until now the city is still heralded as a model in combating the virus.) But wait!

After this two-week repose, the local government was surprised with two new cases. It was a dagger to a recovering city. The succeeding days came bringing one, two and more cases each passing day. In the National Capital Region (NCR), cases were spiking to a record level like the virus had awakened from a shallow slumber. (Or the DOH only rectified their faulty data gathering.)

Thousands of positive cases were being recorded daily, far from the usual hundreds. Then Cebu stole the show. It became the virus hotbed in the Visayas and even in the country at some point because of their unusually high number of Covid-19 cases. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) was recording the highest rate of infection in a single day globally.

Months after the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, nothing significantly changed except the continuous rise of those infected. There were times when the world was ready to call it over and done such as the time when Italy started to show a decline of its positive and death numbers but the virus hit South American countries so hard. Trump realized its seriousness now. The USA still has the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. For the first time, he was recently seen wearing a facemask in public. Our own country continues to crumble due to the rise of cases despite the strict implementation of lockdowns and quarantines. The economy is hit. People are getting hungry. Some jeepney drivers are turning into beggars. Employees are losing jobs. Life is getting hard.

I had high hopes before that things would be way far better come these months. I thought that the authorities by these times would have suspended the lockdowns and even quarantines. I even thought that a vaccine would have been developed by now or that the virus has already disappeared on its own. But it did not.

The months just passed but the situation remained. In other areas, regions and countries, it even got worst.

Hope is good. It is a source of strength but some say it is dangerous and I could not argue with that. Right now, it is good to understand that our situation is here to remain for months, and even a year or a couple. The wait to live a normal life is not over. We have even termed a new normal waiving off the coming of the old normal soon. What we have here is the long wait and we have to keep this in mind to cope with the uncertainties of the time.


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