Wenceslao: Warp speed

Candid Thoughts

The administration of US President Donald Trump calls it Operation Warp Speed. The core phrase there is “warp speed,” which is actually a fancy term for the word “immediate.” Only “trekkies” or those familiar with science fiction can readily recognize the phrase. A “trekkie” is a fan of the television and film series “Star Trek,” which partly concerns space travel.

Space travel involves such term as the speed of light, or the length of time light travels through space, which is 299,792 kilometers per second. Light speed is supposed to be impenetrable. But there is nothing that science fiction does not penetrate. In “Star Trek,” space ships are equipped with warp drives that allow them to zoom past the speed of light at warp speed.

The Trump administration is wise enough to borrow a phrase made popular by “Star Trek.” I was sort of a Trekkie myself, growing up idolizing Captain James T. Kirk, whose words resonated in my young mind:

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Yes, to boldly go where no one has gone before which is, for the Trump administration, to discover a vaccine and a cure for the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid-19.

Operation Warp Speed aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 by January 2021. Consider the dates because these hide an unsaid goal of Trump’s initiative, which is to save his presidency as Trump is running for reelection. He is currently on the defensive for his handling or mishandling of the US response to the pandemic.

Even if I am not a fan of Trump, I still hope that Operation Warp Speed delivers on its promise. A vaccine eases our collective anxiety over a disease that has already killed a number of people, including former congressman Antonio Cuenco and a friend, former Bantay Radyo volunteer and Tulay, Minglanilla barangay councilor Jaime Pardillo.

That anxiety extends up to now when the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the resumption of classes that includes face-to-face sessions aside from online classes.I don’t know if the Duterte administration factored such anxiety in its decision-making because I am sure many parents don’t like their children to attend classes wherein the spread of the virus is possible.

That is why I want Operation Warp Speed to succeed because that would help me make an objective decision on the future of my sons. If a Covid-19 vaccine can already be distributed next year, that would cement my decision to have my sons miss at least the school year. Why risk their safety now when having them go to school already vaccinated would already be a reality months from now?

And I am only talking here of Operation Warp Speed. What if other countries and pharmaceutical firms deliver the vaccine and the Covid 19-cure earlier? The waiting wouldn’t be in vain.


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