HAPPY New Year all!

It was in December 2020 that China announced a Covid-19 outbreak in Yuhan. After which, like a non-stop avalanche, Covid-19 cases were reported from south, west, north, and east the world over, from practically every corner of the earth. The only places that have no reported cases are probably a handful of islands, if various news reports are to be believed. If indeed a few places on this our Terra have somehow managed to remain Covid-free, then they are to be congratulated.

Also to be congratulated are those of us who have survived 2020. So let us quietly pat each other in the back for making it to 2021, and continue to be cautious, informed, and careful.

This even as the past year took from us a number of old friends. Stalwarts of the old UP Mobile Theater bid adieu to college buddy Hermie Escueta, who also for decades worked behind the scenes of noontime show Eat Bulaga. Dulaang UP saw the passing of one of its early troupers, Audie San Juan. Even closer to home, my high school class suffered a fatality in the passing of one of our classmates. I am sure that each of us has learned of the demise of a dear one via Facebook, and condoled with and consoled others in the same virtual manner.

Snatched from us all was college mentor, friend, and National Artist Amelia Lapena Bonifacio. Also suddenly gone was MMDA Chair and once co-teacher at the PMA, retired BGen Danny Lim. Many in the public eye were around one day and in the next, in the hereafter.

May their souls rest in peace, as likewise too the souls of all others who passed on this fateful past year, whether from Covid-19 or not.

This month, my family marked the birthdays of my two brothers, Matty and Danny, though they be in the hereafter. May their souls rest in the Light all ways.

Of Covid-19, we now know more than we did this time last year. For instance, on December 26, 2020, Jerusalem Post published the clinical finding: "99.9% of Covid-19 virus dead in 30 seconds with UV LEDs." With no ifs and no buts, the study is dubbed "the first of its kind in the world."

While that is welcome clinical news, didn't the UP Diliman College of Engineering propose, as early as March of last year, "...a prototype cleaning chamber, based on ultraviolet (UV-C) light exposure, that will be used for disinfecting used PPEs. The clean PPE's can then be safely re-issued and re-used by medical personnel for protection." This proposal was publicized, even then. Didn't his column write about it too?

As a matter of fact, this column later had occasion to ask a ranking official of the UP System about those College of Engineering tents, but the matter got lost in a bigger and longer conversation.

(To be continued)