Sunday, September 26, 2021

Editorial: ‘Play it safe’

Editorial Cartoon by Enrico Santisas

VIRUSES and their ninja moves. There are 11 Sars-CoV-2 mutations that governments and public health experts in the world are closely monitoring, but most potentially disastrous is the Delta variant, first identified in India in December 2020. The same variant reportedly caused 10 percent the Covid-19 cases in the US, and is starting to hit the UK and Australia.

The Delta mutant, warned Octa researchers, may spike the number of cases and consequently wreak havoc on our health care system. One of its insidious qualities include easy transmissibility, its spike protein has a rather unique talent of lodging tenaciously quickly on tissue surfaces. That alone makes our state of the pandemic easily fragile, its potential impact even worse considering that we have vaccinated only less than five percent of our population.

“Sakaling pumasok siya, dudurugin niya ho talaga yung ating healthcare system po...Biglang tataas yung number of new cases ho kasi napaka-infectious niya (If ever they enter, it will crumble our healthcare system...Our number of cases will easily rise because it’s very infectious),” said Octa Research fellow Ranjit Rye in June 2021 after the country’s first detection of the Delta variant in India. Since then, a number of Delta cases emerged in the Philippines.

While at that, looming in the corner is also the discovery of the Delta mutant, the B.1.617.2.1 or the Delta Plus variant. The UK’s public health agency first logged it as a “variant of concern” in a June 11 announcement, and India on June 22. Reports said there are now 11 countries reporting cumulatively 197 cases. Basic to the Delta Plus variant’s shapeshift is on its spike protein, found to easily attach on lung cells.

Meanwhile, while at this, there is a sector of government officials who are in the mindset that the virus is here to stay, we might as well soldier on with our lives informed by its presence and work around it in protected terms. Well and good.

Sadly, unlike vaccination forerunners, we still have a highly vulnerable population facing the challenges of trickling vaccine supply and high jab hesitancy rate. Our feats, therefore, are still in their fragile state, we can’t afford the missteps in having a less conscientious implementation of our health protocols. As the World Health Organization said, the pandemic is still at its worst, even though things appear fine.

It will be most helpful to keep the public informed of all the looming dangers of variant transmissions in our midst as a matter of policy. Not to sound alarmist, but again, as we always say, we’d rather err on the side of caution because the other way around is most costly.


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