A GLOBAL culture of fear no less is perpetuated by the continuing skewed reporting on broadcast and print media on the incidence of coronavirus pandemic. Within Negros, there is virtual developing panic as to date, There is no available hospital to admit new cases of Covid-19.

Last night, close to midnight, I received this urgent warning message about hospitals no longer accepting new Covid cases as they all have reached full capacity.

The IATF of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental opted for a four-day lockdown starting Friday to give room to mass testing and avoid further spread of the virus. I have a differing opinion on this. I believe localized containment per household, per purok, and per barangay where there is high incidence of Covid-19 spread would have been more effective and less stressful to the struggling businesses in greater Bacolod and the Province. There is also a persistent report and question raised about the reliability of the Rapid Appraisal Test and the slowness of processing swab tests.

An added question that should be made clear to the public is if a positive Covid-19 test result compels one to immediately run to the hospital and seek admission. While the poor are normally readily turned away under our present crowded state of the few hospitals in Negros, those who have money and are able to pay the high cost of hospital confinement, find means. A close business associate, a Tsinoy, though asymptomatic chose to be confined in an expensive private room as a preventive measure to protect himself from worsening conditions, and the spread of the virus to his family members.

Is there a real cause for fear? In the National Capital Region, UP COPA, the research arm of the State University focused on monitoring Covid-19 and tasked with prognostications on the movement of the pandemic has come up with the good news that the Philippines is close to reaching a flattening of the curb by end of August or early September. I am not saying that with this good news we have no more reason to be cautious, nor take precautionary measures against Covid-19. What I do want to emphasize is this, there is no room for fear, especially in the heart of those who believe that God is sovereign over the pandemic.

How can we have a "sound mind" response to Covid-19? First, we must recognize the rather skewed reporting on the pandemic. If you sift through the daily updates on Covid-19, you will see that to date we have the following comparative data:

Philippines

Total cases

194K

+4,651

Recovered

132K Deaths

3,010

+12

Worldwide

Total cases

23.4M Recovered

15.2M Deaths

809K

If you carefully note, the reported recoveries of 132,000 as of August 25, are significantly high relative to the 3,010 deaths. Out of the reported 194,000 cases, note that there is no stratification as to the degree of seriousness of Covid-19, i.e., as to whether it is asymptomatic, mild, moderate, or severe. If this measure is done the fear factor about the supposed high transference will be effectively dealt with.

It must be pointed out that there has been some kind of deception in the reporting of Covid-19 deaths. If one looks more closely into the medical data of such reported deaths, one will see that it is in most cases related to "complications" due to pre-existing chronic deadly diseases--diabetes, kidney, heart, or cancer.

Covid deaths command more medical charges, and expense not only to the patient but our universal health insurance, PhilHealth. In the initial dramatic reporting of Covid deaths, PhilHealth boldly announced coverage of medical charges to the millions of pesos. Eventually, PhilHealth realizing how heavy the financial damages are, withdrew its blanket coverage touted by President Duterte.

Another important measure that needs to be taken in rationalizing our response to Covid-19 is effective information education campaign, one that is contextualized, in the language of the pumuluyo. Topmost is the real need to take pre-emptive steps of beefing up one's own autoimmune defense system. Daily intake of high vitamin C rich food available in their communities. There are many anti Covid-19 natural food and vegetables in the barangays that the pumuluyo can secure for free.

In truth, Covid-19 is just like flu, which if effectively handled in its early stage, will not deteriorate into deadly pneumonia, and subsequently death.

(To be continued)