WHEN the Covid-19 caseload in the city exploded, many theories behind the surge emerged—but the one that came to great prominence was the stubbornness and stupidity of the Cebuanos.

It might have been a hasty generalization but as most Cebuanos could bear witness to pockets of obstinacy and idiocy, no one could actually call it an utter falsehood. Still, there were other factors that enabled the explosion of the virus.

Not everyone had access to a disposable, surgical mask. Many had to make do with homemade reusable cloth masks which didn’t offer as much protection.

Not everyone knew what type of mask to wear and how to wear it properly as some of our leaders set wrong examples, sending confusing signals to the public.

Home is a sanctuary—a place where you can relax with your loved ones, without the need for masks and without the fear of transmitting deadly viruses. Sadly, such is no longer true.

Not everyone can live in a huge house and enjoy the luxury of spending time with loved ones, sans masks, from a safe distance.

Many people live in cramped quarters. Some are, in fact, only bed spacers who don’t even have a room of their own to call home. Many people share one, communal bathroom, presenting a petri dish of microbes, right in their supposed safe spaces.

Small living quarters make it impossible for family members to avoid close contact with one another including the vulnerable who may have strictly sheltered. Tragically, never before have shared spaces posed so much danger.

Not everyone has access to simple soap and running water. How much more disinfectants, alcohol and hand sanitizers?

It takes as long as seven days for the results of a swab test to be communicated to the person who took the test. And during that length of waiting time when one is “supposed to isolate,” most people don’t.

Sometimes, their home situation makes it impossible to isolate. And sometimes, when their symptoms are mild, they choose to live in denial. By the time the test results are out, the person who tested positive will have already infected scores others.

When the benefits of testing are negated by the snail’s pace at which results are communicated and contact tracing is commenced, how can local transmission not thrive?

We are not the only city facing these hurdles but perhaps, other cities do not have problems of polarizing politics and muddled messaging compounding their containment efforts.

When the Covid-19 caseload in the city exploded, Cebuanos were unfairly lumped into one, homogeneous lot of willful half-wits. Yes, we have our share of stubborn fools, but we teem, too, with great minds and good hearts.

Well, it’s not over. Yet. If we unite, we can still save lives and redeem ourselves.