Nalzaro: Covid-19 cases rise not alarming


ARE the low health care facilities utilization—hospital bed capacity and isolation centers—and minimal coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in densely populated areas, the only gauge and justification for our local officials to claim that the situation is under control and manageable despite increasing number of cases daily? I pose this question because these are the justifications of our local officials in claiming that the present Covid-19 cases are not a “cause for serious concern and alarm.”

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) deputy chief implementer Joel Garganera claimed that our health care facilities have not been overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients, so there is nothing to worry about because the situation is under control and manageable.

Gov. Gwen Garcia, on the other hand, lashed out against those behind the Octa Research Group, an independent survey group providing updates of Covid-19 cases in the country, for “pushing the red button” on Cebu Province, saying the figures on daily cases is a cause for “serious concern.” Gwen asked what does 400 plus new cases these past few days mean compared to the three million population of the province? It does not even represent .000 percent of the population. There are even more fatalities from tuberculosis (TB) than Covid-19 and these TB cases were not reported and did not become a “cause for alarm” by our health authorities. I fully agree with the governor. She urged the media to stop counting Covid-19 cases and instead focus on reviving the province‘s economy because there are more people who died due from hunger, poverty and criminality.

Okay, on the claim of our city officials that the daily increasing figures of Covid-19 cases is not a cause for alarm because we have enough spaces in our health care facilities, is this their only gauge? I don’t think this is the accurate measurement. Majority of people with Covid-19 can be managed at home or in private institutions like hotels, especially asymptomatic ones. Only a very few and those with severe infections require hospitalization.

Assuming that only a few cases required hospitalization, so we cannot conclude that the number of infections is at an “alarming stage.” There are also other factors to be considered. Is the city’s contact tracing very accurate and do people suspected with Covid-19 infections voluntarily submit themselves to a test? But what if the increase will be unabated and it will reach triple digits daily? Isn’t that a cause for alarm?

What we need to do is to strictly implement health protocols even if we are under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), which has more relaxed restrictions. Whether or not our health care facilities are overwhelmed, we should not lower our guard. While waiting for the vaccine, observing minimum health protocols — wearing of face mask/shields, frequent hand washing and observing social distancing — is the best defense against this deadly virus.

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