IT HAS been a year already since coronavirus struck our country. The first recorded case was on January 30, 2020, from a woman who flew straight from ground zero Wuhan. Ganoon tayo ka-close, or rather open arms to China. The first death was recorded on February 2, 2020. The first locally transmitted infection happened on March 1.

From that one infection case a year ago, we now have more than 540,000 cases. We had the longest lockdown, but we have not flattened the curve. But rather our pockets, our economy, livelihood have flattened. There was a Bayanihan Heal as One budget and its sequel that amounted to P260 billion, but I guessed that healed the wrong pockets.

As this week is Chinese New Year, let's remember that 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I read somewhere that indeed, we lived like rats last year. We holed up in our homes, we go out only to find food, and we get scared to see other people, especially those watching us to let us stay in our holes. By the way, it was also last year that no cat was able to catch those who pocketed P15 billion from our PhilHealth contributions.

I don't believe in predictions, but somehow there's a possibility we might get rid of coronavirus first rather than Duque. That doesn't make me feel upbeat at all.

We tried to learn what these acronyms mean: ECQ, MECQ, GCQ. But what we do understand in the end is MMCQ - Matira Matibay Community Quarantine.

There's something I'm trying to reconcile. A president's high trust rating of 91% according to Pulse Asia. But an Asean survey of Southeast Asian countries showed Philippines ranked bottom in leadership during Covid-19 (0.5%). We also ranked among the lowest in public officials observing health measures (5.9%) and investment in mass testing (5.9%). Well, if you have a popular president telling you to wash your face mask with gasoline, and officials partying or going to beaches without masks, that really tells us something.

But seriously, that kind of explains why we seem to be stuck. It's been a year since the pandemic, and the talks we have among friends, neighbors, the suking vendor, the taxicab driver revolve around two things: how hard the economy has hit us, and are we willing to get the vaccine.

Government's approach to this pandemic has been to make us afraid, both the virus and the authorities. And it's not been helpful that we are more afraid than being assured. It's been a year now. A new year means change, or do we like to get stuck in this like forever?